You Say Tomato, I Say “Tomotto” - Employee Handbooks Are Worth Considering For Your Business
An employee handbook can be a great way to introduce new employees to your company and to help your staff understand workplace culture and expectations. It can address many employee questions that would otherwise pile on the desk at a Human Resources (HR) office. If you do not have an HR office and want to save your management team’s time or your own time, you might want to start drafting that employee handbook right now. Although not legally required, a well drafted employee handbook can minimize your company’s exposure to employment related disputes.
A good employee handbook should be written with consideration for your audience – your employees. It should be easy to read, organized, unambiguous, and unique to your company. After all, it is easier to enforce the rules if the employees know them! You should hold regular workplace training to help employees understand and follow the handbook policies. You should also keep copies of employees’ written acknowledgement and receipt of the handbook in the employees’ files.
An employee handbook should start with a general overview of your company’s culture and include an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement. It should include provisions for employee benefits and eligibility. In order to inform your employees and reduce your liability risk, the handbook should outline workplace policies regarding discrimination, anti-harassment, anti-retaliation, reporting, disability, safety, employment-at-will, etc. Additionally, policies for work hours, confidentiality, social media, and technology may help protect the company and provide a written set of expectations.
Not a Contract
Although an effective employee relations tool, employee handbooks can cause employers headaches when not drafted properly. For instance, employers should never make promises to employees about continued employment, specific benefits or progressive discipline. Such promises can be interpreted as creating an employment contract which binds the employer to those promises. As an example, if an employee handbook “guarantees” progressive discipline, the employer may be forfeiting the right to terminate an employee without following the progressive disciplinary process.
In addition to not making any promises, employee handbooks should always contain a “disclaimer” that the handbook does not constitute a contract of employment with the employees.
Where Your Attorney Can Help
Labor and employment law is guided by city, county, state, and federal law and is always evolving. You should have an attorney review your handbook for compliance with law and recent legal developments. Our attorneys can help you address new issues brought up by the coronavirus pandemic such as work from home policies, technology monitoring, sick leave, and non-disparagement provisions.
For further information, please Contact Us.
Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only. They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
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