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Policies and procedures manuals — Arizona

Some employers question whether to issue personnel policies, handbooks or manuals. Some courts have held that implied promises of job security contained in those documents could become part of the employment contract and limit the employer’s right to discharge someone who would otherwise be an at-will employee. While employers may take steps to prevent these documents from being considered a part of the employment contract by including disclaimer language clearly setting forth that any statements in the handbook or policy are not a limitation of employment at-will and not part of the employment contract, these disclaimers have not always been enforced by the courts. However, in the absence of written disclaimers and clear statements regarding at-will nature of the employment relationship, oral statements and past employment practices were also enforced against employers in some states.

In Arizona, employers have much less of a risk that courts will hold that employers are not entitled to terminate an employee as a result of language in the personnel manual or policy. The 1996 Arizona Employment Protection Act provides that an employment handbook, manual or policy creates job security rights for an employee and overcomes the presumption of employment at-will only if the handbook, manual or policy states that...

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