I hired an employee with an offer letter with salary, bonus eligibility, PTO, etc. in Dec. 2017. The employee resigned Dec 2018 and was rehired Jan 2019. No new offer letter was given. Do I have to honor the original offer letter since the employee resign

The employee resigned again Jan 2020.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 23, 2020 7:32 PM [EST]  |  applies to Colorado

Answers (1)

Nina Kazazian
It sounds like this question is no longer pressing, because the employee resigned in January 2020 (and you don't say she/he was rehired).
The short, general answer to your question is that it depends on what you did when you rehired the employee. Did the employee have the same job responsibliites and duties? Did you change the pay? Change the hours? Change anything about the position? Write or say anythign about the terms of the rehire?

Technically, an offer letter is not a contract for employment. If someone quits and is rehired, everything resets. However, if everything was kept the same each time, then the offer letter could provide some evidence of the terms of the job (responsibliities/pay/hours/title) if a dispute ever arose. As to the benefits, questions of eligibility and determining seniority or total tenure (for vesting schedules, for example) should be defined in the plan documents. If there is a dispute or lack of clarity here, you should definitely consult with an employee benefits (ERISA) lawyer to assist you.

For group benefit plans (covered by ERISA) it is very important that everyone is treated the same as the plan sets forth for eligibility and benefits. Making exceptions for anyone raises the risk of liablity for a discrimination claim by an employee, or disqualification of the plan.

The issues presented by your question would be best navigated with a consultation with a competent lawyer who handles employment and employee benefit issues for the employer. Because the possibility for claims/risk of liability do not end when the employee leaves the company, I recommend you schedule a consultation with a good lawyer as soon as possible to determine your options for risk mitigation or avoidance, as may be the case.

posted by Nina Kazazian  |  Apr 25, 2020 4:24 PM [EST]

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