Absolutely. Typically NY employees are "at will" but when the employer adopts a policy it must follow it. Many times there is an unlawful reason behind the decision which can raise a host of issues. Please call me at my office or email me if you want to further discuss.
Ryan Finn 518.213.0115 Rfinn@hackermurphy.com Referrals are the highest form of compliment
The answer to this will depend on if the handbook can be construed as a contract by which the employer must abide. To determine that, you will need to speak to an experienced employment attorney in your area.
Keep in mind, disparate treatment is often a sign of discrimination.
This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/WhiteRoseMarks) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WhiteRoseMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.