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Handbooks: What the Courts Consider

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

When weighing the evidence in a lawsuit involving employee handbooks, courts consider many factors:

Employee’s reasonable expectations. While the disclaimer may declare that the employment relationship is strictly at-will and nothing in the handbook should be considered a contract, judges tend to look at the reasonable expectations of the employee involved. For instance, in Derrig v. Wal-Mart, the court noted that the employee understood what the rules were in the handbook and was familiar with the system of progressive discipline described in it. The court decided it was reasonable for the employee to expect that the company would abide by its own rules.

Conspicuous disclaimer. When the handbook contains a disclaimer, where is it located? Would a typical employee see it? In one case a U.S. District Court in Colorado ruled that the company may have created a contract in its employee handbook because the disclaimer was burie...(register to read more)

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