Kari v. General Motors Corp.

79 Mich.App. 93, 261 N.W.2d 222 (1977).

Dawson, p. 341


Facts: Kari was fired from GM.  Kari sued to get “separation pay” he thought that he had coming to him in accordance with the GM handbook he got when he was first employed.  The handbook contained conspicuous disclaimers saying that it was not to be taken to constitute a contract between GM and its employees.  The trial court entered summary judgment for the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.


Issue: Did the separation pay section in the employee handbook constitute an offer of contract that Kari accepted by accepting employment with GM?


Rule: An employer’s communications to employees may constitute an offer to contract if that offer contains a promise communicated in a way such that the promisee can justly expect performance and can justly rely on the promise.


Analysis: The court says that since the handbook explicitly says that it’s not a contract and GM really couldn’t have done more to show that this is so, it’s not a contract.


Conclusion: The court upholds the summary judgment against the plaintiff.


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