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Disclaimer can counter employment-contract argument

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in Employment Law,Performance Reviews

A disclaimer that clearly states an employee has no employment contract may be enough to kill a tortuous interference-with-contract claim.

Recent case: Rufus Odem had worked for Bexar County in the internal audit department for 20 years. He was fired following allegations he lied about a work assignment he handed in late.

Odem claimed he was really fired because the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche prepared an audit report that falsely accused him of poor performance. Odem sued the firm, alleging it interfered with his employment contract.

The firm pulled out the Bexar County employee handbook, which clearly stated employees did not have a contract for employment of any sort. That was enough for the court to toss out Odem’s lawsuit. (Odem v. Deloitte & Touche, No. 04-09-00747, Court of Appeals of Texas, 2011)

Lesson: It pays to include such a disclaimer in your handbook.

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