Can a Contract Be Terminated At-Will If the Parties' Intent to Bind Each Other Is Not Specifically Mentioned In the Contract ?
In Ohio, "in the area of employment contracts there exists 'a strong presumption in favor of a contract terminable at-will unless the terms of the contract or other circumstances clearly manifest the parties' intent to bind each other.'" Rudy v. Loral Defense Sys. (1993), 85 Ohio App. 3d 148, 151, 619 N.E.2d 449.
Employee handbooks, policy manuals, and the like are not contracts of employment, but they may define the terms and conditions of an employment relationship if the employer and employee manifest an intention to be bound by them. Finsterwald-Maiden v. AAA South Central Ohio (1996), 115 Ohio App. 3d 442, 446, 685 N.E.2d 786; Sowards v. Norbar, Inc. (1992), 78 Ohio App. 3d 545, 550-51, 605 N.E.2d 468.
Under Mers, "the existence of an implied contract are to be determined by an oral employment-at-will agreement, including the character of the employment, custom, the course of dealing between the parties, company policy, or any other fact which may illuminate the question, can be considered by the trier of fact in order to determine the agreement's explicit and implicit terms concerning discharge." Mers v. Dispatch Printing Co. at 104 (1985).