Florida contract law recognizes oral contracts. That’s why it’s important to train all managers and supervisors to avoid promising employees any specific wage increases.
It’s also a good idea to spell out in the employee handbook exactly how raises are determined and handled. Specify that supervisors and managers have no authority to enter into oral contracts and that any oral promises they make are invalid.
Recent case: Robert Mosbach claimed that his immediate supervisor orally promised him he would receive a $10,000 raise on his next employment anniversary. The increase would have brought Mosbach on par with the compensation level of other employees in his position.
However, the supervisor was fired and Mosbach wound up getting a much smaller raise. He sued, alleging that his supervisor had created a contract when he promised Mosbach the $10,000 raise.
The court concluded that Florida contract and employment laws allow for oral employment agreements that include setting compensation. Therefore, a supervisor’s promise of a substantial raise may be binding on the company. (Onesource Facility Services v. Mosbach, et al., No. 2:05-CV-525, MD FL, 2007)