Brief Fact Summary.
Anderson sued Douglas &Lomason Company after they fired her against the policy outlined in the employee handbook.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Neither the employee or employer can terminate at-will employment if an employee handbook serves as a unilateral contract.
Terry Anderson (Anderson) worked for Douglas &Lomason Company (DLC). The employee handbook that the first time an employee steals, that employee will receive a written warning. The handbook also stipulated that the handbook does not serve as an employment contract, despite Anderson not reading the handbook. Anderson stole a box of pencils and sued DLC for not honoring the terms of the employee handbook. The district court held that the employee handbook does not serve as a contract and Anderson appealed.
Whether the employee or employer can terminate at-will employment if an employee handbook serves as a unilateral contract?
No. The DLC explicitly stated that the employee handbook does not bind their ability to terminated employment; therefore no contract existed between DLC and Anderson. The decision of the trial court is affirmed.
In so far as their intention is an influential element, it is only such intention as the words or acts of the parties indicate; not one secretly cherished which is inconsistent with those words or acts.View Full Point of Law
A disclaimer prevents the formation of a contract by showing the parties’ intention not to make an offer. DLC did not make an offer because they issued a disclaimer that they did not intent to create any contractual rights or to follow the provisional guidelines of the employee handbook.