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Adam v Thinkific: Navigating Employment Offers and Contractual Complexities

By George Waggott, founder, and Roberto Fonseca-Velazquez, summer law student

George Waggott Law


The case of Adam v Thinkific has garnered significant attention in the realm of employment law, particularly because of what it tells us about the nuances of employment offers and contractual agreements. This case underscores the challenges that can arise when multiple documents are used as employment contracts for the same employment relationship. The issues that arise from having a multiplicity of employment contracts governing the same relationship highlight the importance of clarity and consistency in employment agreements. This article delves into the key aspects of the case, its implications for employers and employees, and how the case connects with the broader context of employment law.


Background of the Case


The case of Adam v Thinkific involves a former employee, Adam, who filed a lawsuit against Thinkific, a prominent online course platform, alleging wrongful termination. Central to the dispute were two documents used as the basis for Adam's employment: an initial offer letter and a subsequent employment contract. Adam claimed that inconsistencies between these documents led to confusion and ultimately, his unjust dismissal.


Key Issues and Arguments


At the heart of the case are several pivotal issues:


1.     Employment Offer and Contract Discrepancies: Adam's primary claim was that the initial offer letter and the subsequent employment contract contained conflicting terms regarding his job role, responsibilities, and conditions of termination. 


  1. Procedural Adherence: Thinkific contended that it had followed the due process outlined in the employment contract, including performance reviews and warnings, and that Adam's termination was justified based on documented performance issues.


  1. Legitimate Business Decisions: Thinkific emphasized that the termination was a business decision based on operational needs. The company argued that such decisions are within the employer's purview and are necessary for maintaining organizational efficiency.


Implications for Employers and Employees


The Adam v Thinkific case underscores several critical implications for both employers and employees:


1.     Consistency in Documentation: For employers, the case highlights the importance of ensuring consistency between different documents if they are used as employment contracts for the same employment relationship. Clear and consistent terms in offer letters and employment contracts can prevent misunderstandings and legal disputes.


2.     Comprehensive Contracts: Both parties can benefit from having comprehensive employment contracts that explicitly outline job roles, responsibilities, evaluation procedures, and termination protocols. This can provide a clear framework for both employer and employee expectations.


3.     Clear Communication: Employers should ensure that any discrepancies between offer letters and employment contracts are addressed and clarified before the employee starts work. This can help avoid potential conflicts and legal issues down the line.


4.     Employee Awareness: For employees, the case emphasizes the importance of carefully reviewing and understanding all employment-related documents before signing. Seeking clarification on any ambiguities and ensuring that all terms are clearly defined is crucial.



The Adam v Thinkific case serves as a significant reminder of the complexities that can arise from using multiple documents as employment contracts to govern the same employment relationship. In an era where digital communication and remote work are becoming the norm, both employers and employees must prioritize clarity and consistency in employment agreements. This case highlights the necessity of clear, fair, and transparent employment practices to ensure a just and harmonious workplace. As the employment landscape continues to evolve, navigating these complexities with diligence and awareness remains paramount.


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