While South Carolina is an “at-will” employment state, the presumption of employment “at-will” does not apply where an employment contract exists between the employer and the employee.
Where an employee and the employer have a contract setting forth the terms and duration of the employment between the parties, the contract controls the terms of the employment relationship. Where the employee has an employment contract with the employer, the employee is not employed “at-will” as would otherwise be the case and both the employer and the employee must abide by the terms of the contract.
Additionally, an employment contract may be created by an employment handbook. Handbooks are often issued by employers to employees upon hire. Handbooks typically set forth the rules and guidelines that an employee must follow. Handbooks often set forth progressive discipline systems by which employees in violation of the employer’s guidelines will be punished. Handbooks that contain affirmative, promissory, or mandatory language often create contracts of employment and both the employer and the employee must abide by the terms of the handbook.
An employer may, however, prevent a handbook from creating an implied contract by including a conspicuous disclaimer in the handbook that specifically adheres to the statutory rules set forth by the South Carolina Legislature. Even where an employer has properly disclaimed a handbook from creating a contract, an employer may nevertheless unintentionally create an employment contract by providing oral statements of assurance of a job or promises to an employee.
Unpaid Overtime Claims
Unpaid Wage Claims
Family Medical Leave Act
Breach of Contract