Although courts, in considering the enforceability of employment handbooks, have relied on a single source of principles, contract law, their inconsistent approaches have produced inequitable and irreconcilable results. This Note argues that courts should abandon their dependence on contract law when analyzing handbook claims and instead adopt an employment-based approach that balances the needs of employers with the realistic expectations of employees. Accordingly, this Note proposes three rules for analyzing the legitimacy of handbook modifications: (1) employers should always be permitted to unilaterally modify handbooks; (2) employers must provide employees reasonable notice, defined as a length of time set by the type and importance of the promise made in a handbook, before modifying a handbook; and (3) handbook disclaimers should be ignored, as they often have inequitable results for employees and employers alike.
How Reasonable Is “Reasonable”? The Search for Satisfactory Approach to Employment Handbooks,
57 Duke Law Journal
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol57/iss5/6