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Employment Handbook Provisions Remain Critically Important

Posted by Eric Parzianello on December 19, 2012

A recent Michigan case shows the importance of employment handbook provisions.  In Woofter v. Mecosta County Medical Center, the Michigan Court of Appeals considered a fired employee’s argument regarding her employee handbook.  She claimed that the disciplinary action policy created a grievance-like procedure and progressive form of discipline leading up to termination which therefore created her legitimate expectation of just-cause employment.  In ruling for the employer, the Court held that language in the handbook which stated that it was not intended to establish a contract between the employer and its employees was “sufficient to overcome contrary language suggesting just-cause employment.”  Employers should conduct an annual review of their employment policies to ensure, among other things, that their policies are consistent with any desired at-will employment arrangements.

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