A Double-edged Sword
There was a time when employers avoided having an employee handbook. It was a common misconception that having an employee handbook protected employees, but not employers. This is definitely not the case. While an employee handbook can protect employees, it can also help employers with legal matters. An employee handbook can be a double-edged sword, but it is recommended that every business have one. The type of business or the number of employees working should not determine whether or not an employer has a handbook. In addition to protecting both employers and employees, a handbook can encourage employees to behave in a more appropriate fashion, make sure all employees are treated the same way, and help win unemployment lawsuits. We provide more reasons for having an employee handbook below.
While an employee handbook does not need to be an instruction manual on how to perform a specific job or duty, it can provide some baseline expectations for a new employee. It can include anything from dress codes to information on how to request a day off. An employee handbook can also include information on filing a complaint about harassment, keeping a time record, and complying with the law while on the job. Adding this information to your employee handbook can come in handy in case of a lawsuit or any legal trouble.
“Selling” the Benefits You Offer
When a new employee is considering his or her options for employment, providing them with your employee handbook can definitely be beneficial to you. In the handbook, you can highlight all the resources you provide for your employees and why your business is the best place to work. You can even include Worker’s Compensation and Medical Insurance benefits.
If your business ever faces a lawsuit from an employee, an employee handbook can serve as your first defense. For example, if you terminated an employee you will need proof that the employee was on notice for his actions. It would be extremely helpful if you have outlined your procedure for terminating employees in your handbook, as it would serve as the proof you need. If the employee signed the employee handbook, it becomes an even stronger defense.
Some additional considerations about employee handbooks are that they must comply with state and federal laws. While you do not need to spell out each law in the handbook, none of your policies should be conflicting with the law. In addition, your handbook should be tailored to the needs of your business. This means you should write your own handbook as a business owner. Getting the handbook published and checked for typos is also a good idea. Lastly, making sure your employee handbook is up-to-date is crucial. There is no point in having a handbook that focuses on laws from the past. We advise all of our business clients to either write or revise their handbooks based on the advise found here. More information on how to perfect your employee handbook can be found at the link below.
Source referenced: JD Supra