Employee handbooks. Even if the employer has no explicit employment agreement with the worker, certain actions and representations can bind the employer just as if there were a written contract signed by both parties. If an employee can prove that an employee manual contains discipline, job security, and termination procedures, the manual may constitute a unilateral offer to contract that an employee may accept through continued employment.
Oral statements. Employers should be cautious about allowing anyone in the organization to make a promise of job security to an employee or applicant. If the promise can be seen as an inducement for an employee or prospective employee to give up something of value, by relocating, for instance, or by leaving a good job or turning down an attractive job offer, it is likely to be considered a “contract.” A federal or state law, collective bargaining agreement, or individual employment contract may place further limitations on an otherwise employment-at-will relationship.