Are companies responsible for enforcing what is written in their employment handbooks when it pertains to certain benefits?

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Are companies responsible for enforcing what is written in their employment handbooks when it pertains to certain benefits?

Asked on July 21, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The key issue is what exactly is said, how, in the employee handbook. An employee handbook can be held to create an implied contract, or an obligation, to provide the listed benefits. However, 99% of employee handbooks do not; the reason is, it is *very* easy for a company to write a handbook so that while it provides information about current benefits, it does not create any enforceable rights. To do that, the handbook only needs to include information or statements such as:

"Policies in this handbook may be changed at will" or "Policies are subject to change"

"Nothing in this handbook creates a contract of employment"

If the handbook contains any statements similar to these, or any other limitations on rights conveyed therein, then the benefits listed in the handbook are almost certainly not enforceable.


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