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Ask the HR Expert

April 8, 2019

Offer Letters

Question: Is an offer letter considered an employment contract?

Answer: Although an offer letter and an employment contract have similarities, they are very different.  An offer letter has very basic terms and conditions of employment, generally subject to completion of a successful background check and/or medical exam, and states that employment is at-will.  In other words, the employee can walk anytime, although notice requirement is requested, and the employer can terminate for any reason at any time. This term will likely prevent, in a dispute situation, the offer letter being construed as a contract.  An employment contract is a more formalized document that has more complicated terms and conditions of employment and will include clauses for non-solicitation, confidentiality, compensation, benefits, job duties, and the circumstances under which the employee can be terminated.

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