Delaware Employee Handbooks laws & HR compliance analysis

Delaware Employee Handbooks: What you need to know

Employee handbooks should be drafted according to the particular needs of each individual workplace and in accordance with the requirements of state and federal law. Employers should try to develop policies and procedures that reflect the company's size, employee needs, and company philosophy. Employers should have an attorney familiar with state labor and employment laws review their handbooks for legal accuracy and timeliness. Outdated or erroneous policies can be as dangerous as not having policies at all.
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Employers should exercise caution when developing handbooks and related policy statements in order to avoid contract claims made by employees based upon handbook language. To avoid such claims, employers should issue only general statements of policy in employee handbooks and should always include an explicit statement reserving the right to alter, amend, or change any handbook policy at any time and for any reason.
Delaware is an “employment-at-will” state. Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason unless a collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, existing law, or recognized public policy provides otherwise.
While many state courts have ruled that specific language in an employee handbook may be an employment contract, Delaware courts have been reluctant to adopt this line of reasoning. As a general rule, Delaware courts have stated that an employee manual that does not set forth the terms, conditions, or duration of employment does not create an employment contract (Bray v. L.D. Caulk Dentsply International, 748 A.2d 406 (Del. 2000)).
Nevertheless, employers should remain diligent in crafting ...

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