How Can an Employee Handbook affect the Employment Relationship?
Ensuring that the employee handbook does not create unnecessary restrictions
Employers have expectations of their employees, just as employees have expectations of their employer. An employee handbook is one of the most effective ways for these expectations to be communicated. When creating an employee handbook, employers do not usually expect the handbook to become a binding document, but some courts have bound employers to provisions within their employee handbook. Arizona employment lawyers are experienced in working with employers on their legal issues.
Employment at Will and the Implied-Contract Exception
As a general rule, both employer and employee are able to terminate the employment relationship at any time without giving prior notice, unless the duration of employment is previously agreed to in writing. This is known as employment at will. However, most states have exceptions limiting at-will employment. One of the most common exceptions that are accepted in thirty-eight of the fifty states is the implied-contract exception. A common application of this exception occurs when a court determines that the employee handbook becomes a contract between the employer and employee. This can be a problem when the employee handbook has statements that appear to limit an employer’s actions. For example, employee handbooks often state that employees can only be terminated for certain actions or that before an employee can be terminated, certain procedures must be followed.
Employee Handbook Disclaimer
Employers can take certain steps to ensure that their employee handbook does not become a binding document. One of the most important actions an employer should take is to include a disclaimer stating that the handbook is does not create contractual obligations. This disclaimer should be in a conspicuous location and be signed by the employee. It is also important that an experienced attorney look over your employee handbook to ensure that it does not create any liabilities or obligations for you or your business. Attorneys at Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, PC, are available to review and analyze your employee handbook or address any other employment law concerns that you may have.
Written By Brad Denton
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Mesa, Arizona 85213
40 N Central Ave #1400
Phoenix, AZ 85004
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