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.
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
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.
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.