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Employment Laws: Part Three

employee handbook disclaimers

To complete our Employee Handbook series, we conclude by covering handbook disclaimers. Read on to learn more about the At-Will and NLRA-Protected Activity Disclaimers.

At-Will Disclaimer

Disclaimers are important. A great disclaimer to start with is the disclaimer that the intent of the handbook is not to be an employee contract.

Another disclaimer to include is the at-will disclaimer. Every state assumes private employment is at-will. (In some states however, employees are at-will for only the first six-months). Therefore, your handbook should include an at-will disclaimer that hits on the below points:

  • Employment is at-will and may be terminated any time for any legal reason. This applies to both the employee and the employer.
  • The intention of the employee handbook is not to be a contract of employment.
  • The at-will nature of employment may not be modified by any oral or written statement made before or after employment.
  • The company reserves the right to amend or change the policies at its discretion with or without notice to employees.

NLRA Protected Activity Disclaimer

The purpose of the National Labor Relations Act is to protect collective bargaining rights of employees. This disclaimer can get tricky, but the main thing to remember is this disclaimer can help clarify that nothing in the handbook restricts employees from discussing their wages, hours, or other working conditions.

In summary, the most important thing about a handbook is to keep it current. A fabulous resource is the Society for Human Resource Management, specifically their resource library on HR law.

Inspiration for this post came from “Employee Handbook 2.0: Aligning Your Policies With Employment Laws,” by Melisa Morrison, published in the April 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


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