Massachusetts 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.
Despite a strong presumption in favor of the at-will standard, the Massachusetts courts have held that statements contained in an employee handbook or policy manual may constitute an employment contract.
For example, the court has upheld an employee contract claim where the employee handbook did not contain a disclaimer, the employer regularly followed the procedures provided for in the handbook, and the handbook provided more than general guidance (O'Brien v. New England Telegraph and Telephone Co., 664 N.E.2d 843 (Mass. 1996)).
Massachusetts courts look at ...