Can a company violate its own handbook?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a company violate its own handbook?

The company I work for in Iowa is attempting to force regularly-scheduled overtime. We would get compensated at 1.5 x base pay as an hourly worker but what they are asking is a bit excessive. On a rotating schedule, every 3 weeks we would need to work 3 nights, possibly until midnight, making those three days 16 hour shifts. We have a standard flex days that we can work 8 hours beginning at 7 am until 6 pm. Our employee handbook says that occasional overtime may be

required. According to state code, irregular or occasional overtime work means overtime work which is not part of the regularly scheduled administrative workweek. If it is regularly scheduled, does that violate the definition of occasional overtime? If so, what actions can we take since they would be violating their own handbook. I’m afraid to ask our HR this question because often get reorganized out of a job as a punishment for raising concerns.

Asked on March 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A handbook is not a contract; unlike an employment contract (which to be binding must be for a defined or set period of time, such as a one-year, two-year, etc. contract), the rules in a handbook are subject to change at will by the employer. Therefore, if the employer wishes you to work more than the handbook currently seems to indicate you should work, they can change their policy at will to require it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption