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When is an employee handbook not an employee handbook?

An employee handbook is just an employee handbook…or so you may think. But, what happens when it doesn’t have an appropriate “disclaimer?”

An employee handbook can actually be considered an employment contract! If you think about it, an employee handbook has all the elements of a contract—it’s written, it’s specific, it “promises” certain things will (or won’t) happen. It’s even “signed” by the nonprofit/company.

So, an employee handbook could actually be considered a unilateral employment contract unless the employer includes an appropriate disclaimer, with wording like this:

“The policies, procedures and standard practices described in this manual are not conditions of employment.  This manual does not create an express or implied contract between the Nonprofit/Company and employees.  Nonprofit/Company reserves the right to terminate any employee, at any time, with or without notice or procedure, for any reason deemed by the Nonprofit/Company to be in the best interests of the Nonprofit/Company.”

There are many reasons why an employment handbook should be just that and not also serve as an employment contract. I would be happy to review the employment documents you currently have in place, or outline what documents your business/nonprofit needs, to ensure you have the best possible set-up for legal compliance. Shoot me an email (gordon@gordonfischerlawfirm.com) or give me a call (515-371-6077) and we’ll get your free (no-obligation) one-hour consultation scheduled.