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Oral Modification to Employment Contract Cannot Be Enforced
Description Appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit by fired employee who claimed he was due more compensation because his superior had made oral promises to him of additional compensation outside of his written employment contract, which stated that there could be no oral modifications.
Topic Contracts
Key Words Oral Modification, Employment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Catex hired Wolfe with a written, year-to-year employment contract that detailed compensation, terms of dismissal, and this integration clause: "This Agreement constitutes the entire Agreement between the parties with regard to the subject matter hereof, superseding all prior understandings and agreements, whether written or oral. This Agreement may not be amended or revised except by a writing signed by the parties." After several years, Wolfe assumed other duties for Catex based, he asserted, on oral promises of greater compensation, but he was soon fired. He sued for breach of contract, claiming that he had not been granted the added benefits he was promised with his new assignment. District court dismissed the suit; Wolfe appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "The alleged oral modifications are unenforceable because they are not sufficiently definite to supply the terms of a valid contract. The terms of an alleged oral modification to an employment contract must be definite enough to allow a court to know what it is being asked to enforce."
Citation Catex Vitol Gas v. Wolfe, - F.3d - (1999 WL 342454, 1st Cir.)

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