Creating an employee handbook or manual can go a long way in directing your employees with regard to workplace expectations, approved practices and problem-solving measures. These handbooks can also protect employers from various lawsuits filed by employees.
However, simply having a manual will not be effective if it is incomplete, inaccurate or often disregarded. In order to ensure you have an employee handbook that is valuable and useful, employers should take some time to assess whether their current manual has the following elements.
- Explanations of employee rights, including workers’ compensation and leave benefits
- Clearly defined procedures for reporting discrimination or harassment
- Descriptions of approved workplace attire, behavior and expectations (i.e. codes of conduct)
- Details regarding safety and security, including drug test policies, access limitations and emergency protocols
- Information on compensation, breaks and hours
- Guidance on dispute resolution methods, including arbitration clauses
Additional guidance on what to include in employee manuals can be found in this Inc.com article.
Of course, every company’s handbook will be different, as it should reflect and address the goals and expectations specific to that business entity. Generally speaking, however, you want to make certain that your handbook includes information that is helpful, accurate and readily accessible.
Once all these elements are in place, you will want to review the handbook and its policies regularly to be sure that it continues to meet your needs and comply with state and federal employment requirements.
If you have questions about drafting, reviewing or changing your employee handbook, it can be a good idea to consult an attorney experienced in business and employment laws. With legal guidance and perspective, you can be confident that you are protected as an employer.