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.
In addition, 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; for instance, by relocating or by leaving his or her current job, it may be considered a “contract.”
As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Jury duty. Employers may not discharge or threaten to discharge any permanent employee because of the employee's absence for jury duty. An employer that violates this provision is liable for damages for wages, actual damages, ...