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Are Terms of HR Manuals Contractually Binding?

Poor employee maintenance of company laptops is costing ABC Co. a fortune. So, ABC sticks a new rule into its HR Manual: From now on, employees issued a laptop must pay a $100 annual user fee.  After signing  her  employment contract, which doesn’t mention the fee, new employee Lucy Tania is handed and told to sign a copy of the HR Manual. She does. But when the Company asks her to fork over the $100, Lucy refuses, claiming the fee is unfair and that she never agreed to it.


 Does Lucy have a contractual obligation to pay the laptop fee?

 Yes, because she signed the HR Manual

No, because she didn’t expressly say that she accepted the fee.
Yes, because ABC can charge its employees any fees it wants.
No, because ABC didn’t give Lucy anything of value for accepting the fee.


Under the laws of contract law, Lucy is not obligated to pay the fee.


Although the case is hypothetical, the principle it illustrates is very real: Sticking a provision into a...

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