Q. I have heard that an employee handbook can create a contract between the employer and the employee. Is this true? If so, can this be prevented?
A. This varies from state to state. In North Carolina, an employee handbook does not create such contract unless it is poorly drafted.
In North Carolina, and many other states, your employee handbook can include a disclaimer that clearly states the manual does not create an employment contract. Here’s a sample disclaimer:
“No policy, practice, or benefit mentioned in this Employee Handbook is an employment contract or a term of employment. Nothing in this Employee Handbook binds either the employee or the Company to a specific or definite period of employment. The employee is free to leave at any time he or she chooses, but proper notice is requested. The Company has the same right to end the employment relationship at any time, without previous notice, regardless of the dates, method, or frequency of payment of wages. All employees are employed at will, unless an employee has a written Employment Contract signed by the President of the Company.”