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The one time it’s good for your handbook to be a contract

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

An employer has won the right to pursue a contract counterclaim against a former employee based on a provision in the employee handbook.

Recent case: Matthew took a job with an educational company after receiving an offer letter, an employment agreement and a handbook. The latter included a provision forbidding outside employment. He was fired after the employer found out he was spending work time on his own business instead of his job.

Matthew sued, alleging disability discrimination. The company counterclaimed, arguing he was contractually barred from working on his own business.

The court said the counterclaim was valid because in Pennsylvania an employee handbook can be a contract. (Zinman v. Vantage Learning, No. 16-2068, ED PA, 2017)

Note: Most employers don’t want their handbooks to create a contractual relationship with employees.

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