Moving employment contract law forward

South Carolina is an at-will state, where companies can fire workers for any, or no, reason.

That doesn’t mean workers are unprotected. If you signed a contract, your employer must live up to its terms. If your employer has a policy manual or handbook and you believe your treatment violated its terms, you also might have a case.

That’s because, in certain situations, a handbook can be considered a contract between the company and the worker. Watch carefully for disclaimer language and placement. It’s a complex and constantly evolving area of the law. That’s why it’s important to consult an experienced employment lawyer, such as the ones at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, if you believe you were fired in violation of established company policy.

Typically, handbooks cover many areas, from disciplinary procedures to the termination process. It takes careful review of the handbook, down to evaluating use of words such as “may,” “shall,” and “must” – to determine whether a policy manual is a contract.

At Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, we have that type of experience. We represent employees in contract disputes stemming from both formal and informal agreements. We assist companies in creating handbooks and policies that both conform with the law and protect the business.

Our employment lawyers also represent clients in disputes involving non-compete agreements. These documents used to be limited to high-level managers or key employees who work with confidential information.

The idea of what a non-complete agreement can cover has ballooned, though. These days, even sandwich makers have found themselves subject to non-compete clauses. Fast food workers also have found themselves blocked from moving ahead due to such agreements. In some cases, push back from workers has forced the employer to back off and pay settlements to workers harmed by the agreements.

That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced lawyer before signing a non-complete agreement, no matter which side of the contract you’re on. We can review the agreement to make sure it complies with law and to see if it really accomplishes your goals. We also can help with disputes arising from existing agreements.