Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

The thing that stood out for me is the part where they said, "You and Miso never signed a contract that mentions bonuses", which means he has no "legal proof" a bonus was even offered in the first place.



I don't want to pick on you in particular, since it's something a lot of non-lawyers are confused about, but you might be interested to know that "he has no legal proof" isn't really accurate as a legal matter. Your assumption should be that any time you make a promise in exchange for a promise (or a promise in exchange for performance, like "if you refer someone we hire, we'll pay you $X"), you probably have an enforceable contract, whether it's in writing or not. Instead of "proof," think "enough evidence to convince a jury that it happened, more likely than not." The testimony of a credible witness is plenty.

(I have no idea what happened in this case, and I'm not saying a spoken agreement is necessarily a contract or that you definitely can offer any given piece of evidence to prove it. The rules are complicated. But contract law is basically about fairness, not technicalities. If "you have no legal proof!" sounds unfair, that's a good hint that it's probably not an accurate statement of the law.)


I'm actually aware that the absence of a written contract doesn't necessarily negate his rights, especially in light of the fact that he had emails showing the arrangement. I was pointing out the CFO tried to use the lack of contract to fuck him out of the money.


Oh, I get you. Yeah, that makes sense.

Just because the idea is kind of neat: It's possible you're getting jumped on by the lawyers here because "legal proof" itself is such a non-legal concept. There's such a thing as mathematical proof, for sure. There might be such a thing as scientific proof. But you could rarely point at something and say "that's legal proof." You could only say, "that turned out to be enough evidence to convince that particular jury." "Proof" is defined by the observer (jury, judge, etc.), not the object (contract, bloody knife, etc.).


the CFO tried to use the lack of contract

He did have a contract. It just wasn't written and signed. It's still a contract. The CFO is misleadingly implying that because it was not signed, there was no contract.


In many jurisdictions VERBAL agreements can be considered contracts and legally binding. Often people don't sue over verbal contracts is because the burden of proof that one existed/exists is very difficult.

The mere fact he has the email exchange which took place between them afterwards is probably enough evidence to show in court that a [contractual] agreement existed. Miso was dumb to ever respond. They would have been better to pretend they never saw or heard from the gentleman again and leave it to him to sue... with little to no evidence that the agreement existed. That still doesn't mean Miso doesn't suck... it's just the move Miso should have made if they were going to try and be dicks about it, like they were. Miso, should have just paid up right away, they got caught red handed though and their legal counsel probably said... pay up, it'll save you as much or more and cause you less legal headaches and stress... let's just make this go away and save ourselves from losing focus on a legal fight we will probably lose and minimally will cost as much or more to fight.


They would have been better to pretend they never saw or heard from the gentleman again

That's hard.

It's easy to pretend you didn't get an email. But what if you send via registered post a letter, or a courier? What do you do if the employee has a signed form saying you received the letter? Blatantly ignoring the good faith attempts to resolve this matter before courts are involved might harm your case.


> Often people don't sue over verbal contracts is because the burden of proof that one existed/exists is very difficult

That, and because verbal contracts are not enforceable for all transactions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_frauds


The "statute of frauds" doctrine only applies to certain types of transactions. Most transactions, including employment agreements (or for example, selling your business) can be executed verbally.


Often people don't sue over verbal contracts is because the burden of proof that one existed/exists is very difficult.

Oh, they definitely sue over verbal contracts all the time. Just trying watching any of the dozen Judge X shows on TV or visiting a small claims court. Indeed, the reason for small claims courts is largely to keep these types of disputes out of real courtrooms.


Contracts can be verbal. That's the first thing you learn in law school. Having a written contract as evidence is helpful, but testimony (however self-serving) of an alleged contract constitutes legal proof.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: