Illusory Promise In An At-Will Employment In Texas

In Light v. Centel Cellular Co., 883 S.W.2d 642 (Tex. 1994) a covenant-not-to-compete case, the supreme court held that consideration for a promise, by either the employee or the employer in an at-will employment, cannot be dependent on a period of continued employment. See 883 S.W.2d at 644. The court reasoned that such a promise would be illusory because it fails to bind the promisor, who always retains the option of discontinuing employment in lieu of performance. See id. at 645. The court also stated, however, that "if only one promise is illusory, a unilateral contract can still be formed; the non-illusory promise can serve as an offer, which the promisor who made the illusory promise can accept by performance." Id. at 645 n.6.