If my employer disregarded his own disciplinary procedures and employee manual, do I have a case and what is the next step?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2012

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If my employer disregarded his own disciplinary procedures and employee manual, do I have a case and what is the next step?

I was terminated due to social media use during work hours. I do not now nor did I ever deny the action; I did so during my lunch break. According to the employee manual “cell phones….should be used only on breaks”. The post did not name my company or any employees and was posted using my cell phone not the company computer. I had received a previous warning for not thoroughly cleaning during closing procedures, but not for social media use. I can’t prove I was eating lunch because we don’t clock out but he can’t prove I wasn’t and did not follow his own disciplinary actions.

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The key issue is whether the employee manual and the disciplinary procedures outlined therein were so strong and unequivocal as to form an implied contract, giving you enforceable rights. This will depend on the language in the manual: if anywhere it said, for example, anything like--

"Nothing in this manual creates a contract of employment"

"All employment is employment at will, and nothing in this manual changes it"

"Policies may be changed at will, without notice"

--then it would not form an enforceable contract. You may wish to bring a copy of the manual to an emploment law attorney to review with you.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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