The High Court has held that an employer was not entitled to vary its own staff handbook where it had been incorporated into the employees’ contracts of employment.
Employment lawyers usually urge caution when employers suggest making their staff handbooks contractual as this can often cause problems. In Sparks and another v Department for Transport the employer tried to vary the terms of an attendance management process in the handbook claiming that they had a right to do so. The employees took issue and claimed that the employer could not unilaterally vary the terms of the handbook in the way it had tried to do as the change was detrimental to them. The High Court agreed with the employees and denied the employer the right to unilaterally vary what it said was part of the staff handbook which was contractually binding upon the employer.
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