If my employer disregarded his own disciplinary procedures and employee manual, do I have a case and what is the next step?

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If my employer disregarded his own disciplinary procedures and employee manual, do I have a case and what is the next step?

I was terminated due to social media use during work hours. I do not now nor did I ever deny the action; I did so during my lunch break. According to the employee manual “cell phones….should be used only on breaks”. The post did not name my company or any employees and was posted using my cell phone not the company computer. I had received a previous warning for not thoroughly cleaning during closing procedures, but not for social media use. I can’t prove I was eating lunch because we don’t clock out but he can’t prove I wasn’t and did not follow his own disciplinary actions.

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The key issue is whether the employee manual and the disciplinary procedures outlined therein were so strong and unequivocal as to form an implied contract, giving you enforceable rights. This will depend on the language in the manual: if anywhere it said, for example, anything like--

"Nothing in this manual creates a contract of employment"

"All employment is employment at will, and nothing in this manual changes it"

"Policies may be changed at will, without notice"

--then it would not form an enforceable contract. You may wish to bring a copy of the manual to an emploment law attorney to review with you.


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