When offering employment to any individual, whether orally or by offer letter, the employer should be sure to avoid making statements such as “we look forward to a long and rewarding experience with you on our team.” If the employer uses an offer letter, the terms and conditions of employment should be fully described as the company understands them, and the offer letter should indicate that it supersedes any oral promises. In addition, if the employer wants the employment relationship to be “at-will,” that is, terminable by either party at any time, the letter should not include an annual salary; it should include a payroll period amount, e.g., weekly or semi-monthly, that is annualized at a rate of “X.” This will ensure that the offer is not construed to be for a one-year term. To ensure that the offer letter will not be interpreted as a binding employment contract, the employer is advised to have the letter reviewed by legal counsel before it is sent.

Notice of Rights Regarding Personnel Files

Although all Minnesota employers are required to provide employees with access to their personnel files,39 employers with at least 20 employees should note that they must provide written notice to a job applicant upon hire of the new employee’s rights and remedies regarding personnel records.40 Employers are encouraged to secure a signed acknowledgment of the notice from each employee. Further discussion of personnel files appears in the Employee Access to Personnel Files section of this Guide.

CREDITS: This post is an excerpt from An Employer’s Guide to Employment Law Issues in Minnesota, originally produced through a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Lindquist & Vennum, P.L.L.P.

This post is part of a series of posts on hiring an employee in Minnesota.

39. Minn. Stat. §§ 181.960-.966 (2007).
40. Minn. Stat. § 181.9631 (2007).