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  • Change in company manual

    Our company has just distributed a new company policy & procedure manual that goes into effect on Jan. 1st. I have been with the company 8-yrs and I have some questions:

    1. They are requiring that I sign an acknowledgement stating that I have received, read, understand and accept the new manual. Can I choose not to sign it? If I don't sign, do I have an opportunity to disput Item #2 below?

    2. I have accrued 20-personal days to date, I am being told that I will lose my previously accrued days and will start Jan 1st under the new policy (5-personal/sick days per year, no accrual). Can they take away personal time that I have accrued under a previous manual?

    3. Our previous manual calculated time off from anniversary date to anniversary date, the new manual will now calculate time on a calendar year basis. Can they change that after 8-yrs (my anniversary date is in Oct)?

    4. Does my continuing to work for the company after the new manual is distributed automatically mean that I am accepting their new policy?

    4. Do I have any avenue to dispute these new policies or do I just simply have no choice other than to quit and find employment elsewhere?

    Thank you for your help.

  • #2
    1. They can fire you for subordination if you refuse to sign. And are you sure that they said "accept"? Or just "acknowledge"?

    2. What state are you in? And can you use personal days just like vacation days?

    3. Yes.

    4. Yes. So why wouldn't you sign the acknowledgement?

    5. No, you don't and yes, that is your option. Even if some policy may violate a law, until the violation affects you directly as a worker in that particular situation, you would have no recourse.

    And "quitting" because you don't like the new policies is a good way to be denied unemployment benefits (in case you were thinking of that).

    The employer has the right to change policies at any time at management's discretion (short of a Collective Bargaining Agreement that prohibits the change). The fact that you don't like the changes does not make them illegal.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      All my experience says:

      1a)Yes, you can refuse to sign it. Bluntly, however, don't expect to still be employed if you do refuse.
      1b)Sure, you can dispute this. You will, of course, be doing this at your own risk. In other words, you may be fired for not accepting the company's terms. It is most likely you are employed in an "at will" state. You can leave for any reason, and your employer may terminate you for any legal reason. Legal reason defined by protections afforded under law (gender or sexual orientation, for example).

      2)What state do you work in? This MIGHT make a difference.

      3)Yes.

      4)Essentially.

      5)Again, disputing said policies may lead to unemployment. If any policy violated state or federal law, you could take the issue up with the appropriate dept of labor, after the violation has affected you.


      That said, this is just coming from my experience and short time on this board. The short nature of my responses is not an affront to your situation, just an honest opinion to the questions you posed.

      edited for spelling.
      Last edited by morningstar5150; 09-08-2006, 03:48 AM.
      Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

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      • #4
        Note: Sexual orientation is not a protected characteristic under Federal law or under the law of many states. It IS protected in your state, morningstar, but it is not protected everywhere.

        And I agree with the answers above. An employee manual is not a contract that your employer is required to adhere to and can never change for the duration of your employment; you don't get to decide what policies you will and will not adhere to. You are free to exercise your right to refuse to sign, but the law does NOT give the the guaranteed right of remaining employed if you do. If the employer chooses to fire you for not signing, that is THEIR right.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          Thank you for the correction, cbg. That was something I was so accustomed to dealing with, I forgot that distinction between state and federal law.
          Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

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          • #6
            Thank you all for responding. By the way, I am located in the State of Florida.

            I think I understand the issue about the policy changing and my right to quit or possibly be fired for not agreeing to the terms of the new policy. Which, by the way, the signature pages states "received, read, understand and accept the policy and procedures...", so I guess it covers all bases.

            I still remain unclear on the issue of losing my accumulated paid personal/sick time off and my accumulated paid vacation time. If I accumulated that time by not taking off under the previous policy terms how can they have the right to take it away from me as if I never earned it just because they decided to change the company policies on those issue? If I earned it, shouldn't it stay will me? Do I have any legal leg to stand on to fight them on this issue?

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            • #7
              It's my understanding that Florida often defers to US DOL on matters like this. And no Federal law requires that employers even offer vacation, sick, personal or other paid time off. As such this becomes a matter of policy. And as previously mentioned, the company does have the right to change policies.

              Are you able to use up your personal days before the new policy goes into affect? If yes, then maybe this will solve your dispute.

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              • #8
                robb71 is correct about accrued time off. It's going to be bad for morale, I don't disagree. But Florida has no laws addressing such issues.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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