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What Should We Put in an Employment Offer Letter?

Photo of a "Sign Here" sticker symbolizing an at-will employment offer letter

From time to time, clients ask me to review their current form of employment offer letter.

As a result, I am writing this post. It is a summary of what I believe every offer letter should convey to the prospective employee from the business and legal perspectives.

Offer Letter Business Terms

From the business perspective, the letter should lay out the most important characteristics of the position:

  • Position title
  • A description of the position’s responsibilities
  • Work location
  • The title of the manager to whom the position reports
  • Salary and, as applicable, other compensation, such as commissions or stock options / restricted stock (including a reference to any applicable governing documents)
  • A brief summary of benefits, noting that they are described in detail in the Employee Handbook
  • How the prospective employee should reply to accept or reject the offer
  • The date on which the offer expires
Offer Letter Legal Provisions

From the legal perspective, the following are critical:

  • A statement that employment is “at will“, i.e., that either party may terminate the relationship at any time for any reason or for no reason
  • An obligation to sign and return the enclosed Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement (or whatever title the company uses for such an agreement)
  • A notice that employment will be subject to the company’s Employee Handbook as it may be changed from time to time (perhaps with a copy of the Handbook enclosed, if it is not too long)
  • Legal boilerplate about dispute resolution (see Arbitrating Employment Disputes: Pro and Con), amending the offer letter, and the like

See all posts about employment.

Photo credit: Evan Earwicker via stock.xchng

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510-547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

Categories
Contracts, Employment

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