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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.

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