Proof read before sending! Employer Bound by Mistaken Job Offer

In a recent case, an Employer was forced to honour the written pay grade stated on an employee’s offer letter.

In this case, the employee applied for a job as a practice nurse. The salary wasn't revealed in the advert nor was it discussed during interview. The Employee was later offered the job by phone and informed that the pay grade was £22,427. The employee was further informed that a letter confirming the terms would be sent out to her.

The written offer letter set out stated that the pay grade was in fact £30,762. Neither party queried it, the Employee later explaining that in her excitement the figure hadn't registered with her. Once the employee began her employment she was informed that there had been a mistake and the salary was in fact £22,427.

After numerous unsuccessful attempts at reaching a compromise the employment was terminated 1 month later. The Employee brought a claim based on the higher salary. The tribunal found in her favour and held that the employer should have honoured the higher annual salary. The employer attempted to appeal but was unsuccessful.

The Tribunal further ruled that whilst a salary had been agreed over the phone the terms would only become binding once the written offer had been sent and accepted by the employee. As the Employer did not rescind the letter or correct the mistake the offer letter stands as the binding salary amount.  And even if the offer made by telephone was effective, it had been superseded by the written offer and Ms Collen's acceptance of that.

A notable case, it is therefore imperative that offer letter and contracts are checked over carefully before they are sent out to employees.

Published: 15 Apr 2013

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