LeMaitre v. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority

SJC Opinion in LeMaitre v. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority


The case tries to leave the issue of whether a handbook creates a binding obligation open to a case-by-case analysis. In particular it tries to avoid addressing when statements in a handbook become promises of employment to at-will employees.

"In reaching this conclusion, we need not (and do not) decide whether any other of the authority policies (or its personnel policies in their entirety) became terms of employment for LeMaitre or his similarly situated at-will colleagues. Nor do we find it necessary to decide whether an employer must utilize a specific set of words in its employee handbooks or personnel policies in order to avoid their legal enforceability. We remain of the view that while the words used in such handbooks and policies are important, "the context of the . . . preparation and distribution [of the employment policies] is . . . the most persuasive proof" as to whether the employee's reliance thereon as a binding and legally enforceable commitment, is reasonable.

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Reference Info:Decision | State, 1st Circuit, Massachusetts | United States

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