Georgia Employee Handbooks laws & HR compliance analysis

Georgia Employee Handbooks: What you need to know

Employee handbooks should be drafted according to the particular needs of each individual workplace and 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 also have an attorney familiar with state labor and employment laws review their handbooks for legal accuracy and timeliness. Outdated or erroneous policies can be just as dangerous as having no policies at all.
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Employers should exercise caution when developing handbooks and related policy statements. To avoid implied contract 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.
There is more information on employee handbooks.
Georgia 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.
In keeping with a strong presumption in favor of the at-will standard, the Georgia courts have generally held that policy statements contained in an employee handbook or manual do not create an employment contract.
For example, a management manual that contained a promise to reinstate employees after maternity leave was deemed insufficient to alter an otherwise at-will employment relationship (White v. ITT, 718 F.2d 994 (11th Cir. 1983)). However, the Georgia courts have held that employee handbooks can create a binding ...

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