Wednesday, December 25, 2013

McDonald v. Mobil Coal Producing, Inc. case brief

McDonald v. Mobil Coal Producing, Inc. case brief summary
820 P.2d 986 (Wyo. 1991)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant employer filed a motion for rehearing after the court (Wyoming) reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer and remanded for further proceedings. Plaintiff employee had challenged his dismissal from employment by the employer.

CASE FACTS
The employee challenged his dismissal from employment by the employer. The trial court granted summary judgment against him. On appeal, the court reversed and remanded. The employer filed a motion for rehearing.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed its decision reversing summary judgment and remanding for further proceedings. 
  • The court held that there was a genuine issue of material fact presented as to whether the employee handbook and the employer's course of dealing with the employee modified the terms of the employee's at-will employment. 
  • The court held that a disclaimer contained in the employee handbook was not sufficiently conspicuous to be binding on the employee. 
  • The disclaimer was not set off by a border or larger print, was not capitalized, and was contained in a general welcoming section of the handbook. 
  • There was no indication given in the disclaimer that the employer did not consider itself bound by the terms of the handbook. 
  • The employer's course of conduct, together with the handbook provisions, created an ambiguity as to whether the employer manifested intent to modify the at-will employment to an employment that could only be terminated for cause.

CONCLUSION
The court reaffirmed its decision reversing summary judgment in favor of the employer and remanding this case for further proceedings.

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