Does a signed contract supersede a business/company/school employment policy?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does a signed contract supersede a business/company/school employment policy?

I am a teacher who has a signed contract with a school district which states that my work day is from the hours of 730 am to 415 pm. However, the school has a policy that states that the teacher work day is 730 am to 430 pm. Does my signed contract supersede the employer’s policy?

Asked on December 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A policy is informal: it's what someone wants or intends or usually does. A contract is a formal, legal obligation or committment: it is two (or more) parties agreeing in a legally enforceable way as to not just what "should" be done but what *must* be done. The contract supercedes the policy unless the contract specifically states that, for example, "hours will be set by school policy," in which event the parties agreed to look to policy for determining hours--that, however, is not the situation you describe. Rather, if there are hours set in a contract, those are the hours you are obligated to work.
Of course, sometimes it's not worth standing on your contractual rights: it may not worth alienating your employer over 15 minutes per day, and the effect on you later (e.g. on having a contract or employment renewed, when your current contract runs out; or on promotion, or being given desirable assigments, etc.) may be significant. So as practical matter, decide if this is a worthwhile fight for you; but in answer to your question, legally, the contract supercedes a policy unless the contract itself says to follow or adopt policy.

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.

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