Employee Handbooks and Policy Statements: from Gratuities To Contracts and Back Again

24 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2017

See all articles by Stephen F. Befort

Stephen F. Befort

University of Minnesota Law School

Date Written: July 12, 2017


This article is part of the Labor Law Group’s commentary on the recently adopted Restatement of Employment Law and focuses on Chapter 2 which addresses the legal significance of employee handbooks and disclaimers. Professor Befort argues that the Restatement does not adequately account for legitimate employee expectations in outlining the law with respect to the enforcement of employee handbooks. He is also skeptical of the Restatement’s adoption of the theory of “administrative agency estoppel” in deciding what handbooks to enforce, a theory for which there is no support in any American jurisdiction. Moreover, he argues that, the Restatement’s automatic endorsement of disclaimers without a fact specific analysis of employee expectations is inconsistent with the Restatement’s estoppel theory of enforcement and the weight of scholarly commentary. Professor Befort does not believe that the Restatement should give determinative weight to the insertion of boilerplate disclaimers in new and revised handbooks without regard to the overall promissory tenor of those documents or the reasonable expectations they might create.

Keywords: Employee Handbooks, Policy Manuals, Disclaimers

Suggested Citation

Befort, Stephen F., Employee Handbooks and Policy Statements: from Gratuities To Contracts and Back Again (July 12, 2017). Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, 2017 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3000968

Stephen F. Befort (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
(612) 625-7342 (Phone)
(612) 625-2011 (Fax)

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