Must our handbook include a disclaimer to preserve our ‘At-Will’ status? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Must our handbook include a disclaimer to preserve our ‘At-Will’ status?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. I know some states, such as South Carolina, require employers to insert disclaimers into employee handbooks to prevent the handbooks from affecting the employer’s status as an “at will” employer. Does Georgia have such a law?

A.
There is no Georgia law that requires private-sector employers to have an employee handbook disclaimer to preserve “at will” employment status. On the other hand, in the public sector, certain employee handbook language—combined with the absence of a disclaimer—can alter “at will” status.

In any event, I recommend that all Georgia employers use such disclaimers.

Each year, the Georgia Legislature considers proposed legislation designed to create exceptions to, or otherwise weaken, the state’s at-will employment rule. Using such disclaimers may soon be required to preserve the at-will employment status.

Disclaimers can also help manage employees’ expectations, which in turn can reduce the potential for employment-related disputes.

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