Can an employee be fired for refusing to sign an acknowledgement of new company policy?

An employee can be fired for refusing any request that is lawful, reasonable and ethical. Signing a company policy memo is certainly lawful reasonable and ethical. A workplace is not a democracy and the company sets policies and working conditions. The only limits are those set by employment laws which define what is illegal. There is no “deal” between employer and employee. The employer can make changes at will and the employee can deal with it or quit.

It is common practice for employers to issue a written copy of new policy to all workers. Asking employees to sign a document to verify receipt of the new policy is one way to be sure each employee is aware of the changes. Like with a speeding ticket, the signature simply says the employee has received notification of the new policy. It does not indicate agreement with the policy. Technically you could fire the employee for refusing to sign but there is a better way. You can issue a written warning to the employee with a witness to sign a statement that the policy was discussed with the employee but the employee refused to sign the acknowledgement. This same idea works with written warnings for any disciplinary action.

Hope that helps you out. =)

A note about HR laws:
Laws concerning employee treatment, benefits, hiring and firing…etc are multi-level. What this means is that there are Federal laws, state laws and sometimes local regulations that have jurisdiction over an employee. The information presented here should not be considered legal advice. Ultimately, employers with serious legal questions should consult local attorneys with expertise in worker relations.
The questions and answers presented here are based on research and data from internet sources and should not be considered the final word.

Comments (1)

  1. That is certainly True. An employer, at will can change a contract. Maybe I will go iinto work tomorrow with a letter stipulating a change in my working hours and I have decided to change my contract to better suite my lifestyle.

    Remember there are always jobs out there to be had and forget what you may have been told by your current employer…..’the job markets are weak… are lucky to have a job……you can always be replaced!’

    Don’t be intimidated. If you work hard and do your best it will always shine through. Forget the leeches and look forth to your future. The risk is worth it x

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