Verbal Employment Contract in New Jersey

Can you have a verbal employment contract or employment agreement with your company?  The answer is yes.  New Jersey is an at-will employment state which means that you can quit your employment at anytime and for any reason.  The company can also terminate your employment at anytime, and for any reason, for cause or for no cause at all.  However, if you were offered an employment contract — either in writing or verbally — you may not be able to be terminated by your company without cause or whatever else was agreed to between you and the company.

In order for a verbal employment agreement to be enforceable, you must be able to demonstrate (1) a definite, clear, oral promise of employment; (2) the definite, oral promise of employment was made to you by a person who had the authority to make this promise and the authority to bind the the company; and (3) you must acted in reliance upon this promise.

A verbal employment agreement is most commonly found in the situation where you have received an offer from a competitor and the company wants to prevent you from accepting that employment and persuades you to decline the competitor’s offer by promising continued employment if you decline declined the competitor’s offer.

Dated: April 5, 2010 – Tom McKinney