Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Was the statement in the letter that definitely, absolutely, NOT maybe, reviews and raises were going to be given OR was it that it may occur, would be up to them to decide, or other language that while it may have seemed certain still allowed them some leeway to decide whether to give raises and reviews?
A letter of employment, if it can be said to promise specific benefits or practices an employer will conduct (not which may occur or which are not spcifically promised or guaranteed to occur) may create a contract that an employee may later enforce, perhaps through a court action. Language is very critical, however. For example, a phrase such as "performance based" may be unenforceable as it indicates that it is for an employer to determine what "performance" is due a raise. Unless an employee can show that others with similar performances were given raises then it may be difficult to enforce such a provision. Again, however, langauge is key and the entire contents of a writing, as well, sometimes, as that of other writings such as employee manuals or memorandums, may also come into play regarding the enforceability of a writing.