Do You Really Need to Have an Employee Handbook? (Yes!)

No law requires an employee handbook, but it’s a good idea from a business and legal perspective. A handbook tells employees about the organization’s employment brand — what it stands for, how it operates. Handbooks set expectations. Employees are informed about what’s expected of them and what they can expect from the organization. And from a legal vantage point, it counters allegations of being ambushed. The employer can prove that employees were aware of the rules if an employee later decides to challenge an action. Handbooks also provide a good place to collect policies that must be in writing, such as deductions from exempt employees’ salaries for serious policy violations, FLSA safe harbor provisions, or family and medical leave.

Top Policies and Procedures You Must Have in Place

Hand writing with chalk know the rules on blackboardCourts have increasingly taken the stance that employee handbooks and policy manuals are more than simple statements of intent. Badly drafted handbooks and policy manuals have been treated like express or implied contracts, binding the employer to certain obligations and creating employee entitlements.

A Quick Audit of Necessary Handbook Content

-Introduction to the organization
Mutual communication expectations
Work schedules, rules,and standards
Payroll policies/taxes
Benefits
Hiring policies/reference checks
EEO policy/harassment and retaliation prohibitions
Acceptable use of technology
Job classifications/wage and hour requirements
Confidentiality, nondisclosure, and proprietary information
Media inquiries
Attendance and absenteeism
Safety and health
Workplace violence
Leaves of absence
Workers’ compensation
Unemployment compensation
Rules of conduct/prohibited conduct/penalties for misconduct
The disciplinary process
Dispute-resolution system
Termination and discharge grounds and procedures
Searches and testing
Performance standards and appraisal procedures
Management’s right to amend or change or not follow a policy

 

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