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C.

Offer Letters and Employment Agreements

The “offer letter” is a crucial document that needs careful attention. When thought

through and well-crafted, an offer letter can communicate important information and make

the prospective employee feel good about joining the company, while still protecting the

employer. Assume that whatever is offered to an employee upon joining the company, an

employee will demand upon leaving the company.

Here are some tips to handle the more important issues in an offer letter.

1.

At-Will Disclaimers

The offer letter should state that employment is not for a definite duration, and is

terminable by either the employer or the employee at any time, with or without notice, and

for any reason. See Part I, Section 1.6(A) above.

2.

Expression of Compensation

To avoid the inference that the employer guarantees employment for at least one year,

the offer letter should not reference a prospective employee’s annual salary. Rather, the

reference to compensation should reflect the amount of compensation based on the

employer’s payroll schedule (e.g., weekly or bi-weekly). Massachusetts law generally

requires that employees be paid no less often than bi-weekly or, in the case of bona fide

executive, administrative or professional salaried employees, semi-monthly.

3. Bonuses

If a prospective employee will be eligible for a bonus, the offer letter should clearly

state the amount and date of payment of the bonus. If the bonus is discretionary, the offer

letter should state that in no uncertain terms. In addition, if the bonus is contingent upon

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