Louisiana Employee Handbooks laws & HR compliance analysis

Louisiana Employee Handbooks: What you need to know

Employee handbooks should be drafted according to the particular needs of each individual workplace and according to 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 Outdated or erroneous policies can be just as dangerous as having no policies at all.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.
Louisiana 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 Louisiana courts have generally refused to uphold contract claims that are based on an employee handbook and have held that an employee handbook alone cannot create a contract with an at-will employee.
For example, the Louisiana courts have refused to find or enforce an employment contract based on a personnel manual that contained only general guidelines for disciplining employees (Keller v. Sisters of Charity of Incarnate Word, 597 So.2d 1113 (LA App. 2 Cir. 1992)).

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