Most large employers have employee handbooks, those set of policies that explain things like vacation and sick leave, discipline, etc. Employers will often describe how they are “binding” and must be followed. But, legally, they are not binding, at all. They look thorough and professional and provide some comfort to employees in an uncertain world.

They are generally not binding on the employer. They are nothing more than a guideline.  If the employer included a phrase providing they are not contractual, then they will not be binding. And, most, perhaps all employers do include non-binding type language in the handbook.

Employee handbooks are not binding on a Texas employer.  The typical employee handbook says the employer will not fire someone until that person has been verbally warned, and then warned in writing a few times.  Or, the handbook may say that an employee will not be demoted or fired without a good reason.  Once upon a time, such handbooks were found to be binding upon the employer.  Employers soon learned, however, that they could avoid the binding nature entirely if they simply state in the handbook that it is not binding and that the policies can be changed anytime. 

So, yes, these days, almost every employer, probably 99.9% now state somewhere in their handbook that it is not binding.  So, yes, an eleven year employee can now be fired with no warning simply because a new manager wants to downsize the office. 

I have previously talked about employee handbooks here and here