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Verbal Agreement in Employment

Verbal Agreement in Employment: What You Need to Know

When it comes to employment agreements, most people think of written contracts. However, verbal agreements can also be binding under certain circumstances. In fact, verbal agreements are quite common in today`s fast-paced business world. But what exactly constitutes a verbal agreement in employment and how can you ensure that you`re protected?

What is a Verbal Agreement?

Simply put, a verbal agreement is a contract made between two parties without any written documentation. It is based on spoken words and relies on the trust and understanding between the parties involved. In employment, a verbal agreement typically refers to the terms and conditions of an employment offer that are discussed and agreed upon verbally.

Are Verbal Agreements Enforceable?

The answer is yes, under certain circumstances. A verbal agreement is just as legally binding as a written contract, provided it meets the following criteria:

1. Mutual Agreement: Both parties must agree to the terms of the agreement. This means that there must be a clear offer and acceptance of the terms.

2. Terms must be clear: The terms of the agreement must be clear and unambiguous. Both parties must know exactly what they are agreeing to.

3. Consideration: The agreement must have a consideration (i.e., something of value that each party gives to the other). In employment, this could be in the form of compensation or benefits.

4. Performance: Both parties must perform their obligations as agreed to in the verbal agreement.

Enforcing Verbal Agreements

If a dispute arises regarding a verbal agreement in employment, it can be difficult to prove the terms of the agreement without any written documentation. However, there are ways to enforce a verbal agreement:

1. Witness Testimony: If there were witnesses to the verbal agreement, their testimony can be used to prove the terms of the agreement.

2. Emails or Texts: Even though there was no written contract, emails or texts exchanged between the parties can be used as evidence of the agreement.

3. Actions of the Parties: If both parties acted as if they were bound by the terms of the agreement, this can also be used as evidence of the agreement.

Protecting Yourself

To protect yourself from potential disputes, it`s always best to have a written employment contract in place. A written contract provides clarity and prevents misunderstandings. It also outlines the rights and obligations of both parties, preventing any potential confusion in the future.

In addition, it`s important to keep records of any verbal agreements made during the employment relationship. You should keep notes of what was discussed, who was present, and what the agreed-upon terms were. This will help you in case a dispute arises in the future.


Verbal agreements in employment are common, but they can be risky if not handled properly. If you`re entering into a verbal agreement, make sure that the terms are clear, and that both parties agree to the terms. Keep records and consider drafting a written agreement to protect yourself in case of disputes. Remember, verbal agreements are just as legally binding as written contracts if they meet all the required criteria.

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