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A Better Partnership


Sep 2001
September 01, 2001

Divided Court of Appeals Holds That Employees Have Claim for Breach of Contract Due to Employer's Change-of-Vacation Policy

Briney v. Kelsey Hayes, No. 218621 (August 21, 2001). The employer in this case had a vacation policy under which employees would earn vacation one year to take the next year. Effective January, 1995, it changed to an earn-as-you-go vacation policy. Special transition rules were in effect for 1995, but no provisions were made for years after 1995. Several current employees and former employees (who left the company after 1995) sued, claiming that the company had breached its contract with them by depriving them of accrued benefits or not paying accrued benefits upon termination. A jury found for the plaintiffs. The court of appeals upheld the jury's award, finding that the plaintiffs could state a claim for breach of contract because the company's policy change affected their vested rights under the old vacation policy.

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