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Ask Jim Reilly Your Own Question
Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  California lawyer since 1976.
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Customer Question

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Yes, it can be. However, there is an old legal axiom which goes, "An oral contract isn't worth the paper it is written on."

What that means is that proving an oral contract is not easy in the face of denial by either of the contracting parties (one man's word against the other's).

That said, if an oral contract has been formed and a third part interferes with that contract in a manner which constitutes tortious interference, it is actionable even though the contract is oral.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

"For Run Tam38 " Could this be actionable in a case where an HR representitive, whilie signing you onto the management team of a company gave you a specific directive and then a subsequet senior manager made that directive impossible for you to honor?

Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Interesting question ... in general, management of a company can change the terms of your employment objecives and obligations. In essence, if the senior manager contermanded the original directive ... or imposed on you other obligations which make it impossible for you to meet the original directive, that is within the discretion of the company's management and not actionable.

This situation would not be actionable as tortious interference because that principle requires interference by a third party. In your case there are only two parties, you and the company. The HR rep and the senior manager are simply two different representatives of the company. The senior mgr would not be considered a third party who could commit a tortious interference.

It is conceivable that the company broke its contract with you, which could give rise to an action for breach of contract. But, even that would be the case only if they are not paying you or perhaps if the change in directives prevents you from earning a bonus or other increased compensation that you might have earned under the original terms.