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Avoid making promises that become job contracts

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in Human Resources

In your rush to land a hot job prospect, beware of making promises that could unintentionally create a contract that binds you, and the organization, to those terms.

Best bet: Stay away from phrases such as:


  • "You'll be with us as long as you can do your job."
  • "You won't be fired unless we have a very good reason."
  • "This is a company in which you can stay and grow."
  • "In this company, you'll have lots of job security."

Employment-at-will laws in most states give you the freedom to fire someone at any time for any reason other than one that's discriminatory or illegal. But statements like the ones above surrender that privilege by awarding special employment rights to the new hire.

Note: When a prospective employee gives up something of value (like a house in another city) or quits another job, the courts are even stricter in enforcing the oral promises you make.

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