What to do if an employee is denied benefits that are expressly written in the employee handbook?

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What to do if an employee is denied benefits that are expressly written in the employee handbook?

My company recently revised it’s hourly employee’s manual,it explicitly states that it supersedes any and all prior practice, oral or written. They are now trying to tell me and me only that it does not pertain to me and i must live by the prior agreement. What is my recourse?

Asked on May 9, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Rhode Island

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF the employee's manual does truly supercede any and all prior practices and agreements, then you may have a cause of action against your employer--in that case, the manual would create a contract, which they may be breaching. Of course, much depends on the precise working or terms, and it is uncommon for an employee handbook or manual to not contain some reservation or caveat that protects the employer's flexibility. You should take the manual and your prior agreement(s) to an employment law attorney, who can evaluate them for you and let you know whether you seem to have a cause of action and, if so, what it might be worth and also what it might cost you to pursue it. Good luck.


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