Employee lawsuits are on the rise and 68% of employee related claims are settled in favor of the employee. Therefore, it is critical for companies to reduce the risk of lawsuits by creating a legally compliant employee handbook/manual. Employee manuals should be aligned and customized to reflect your business and its goals. The manual should be written using clear language that is easily understood by your workforce.
Reasons to have a manual include:
- Avoidance of legal disputes – when consistently followed, well-written policies eliminate second-guessing and help prevent disputes.
- Reiterates “Employment-At-Will” Policy (if applicable). You can never mention the “At-Will” Policy enough.
- To address your expectations for employees, i.e. dress codes, work hours, complaint process, etc.
- Creates uniformity by providing a roadmap so your workforce is operating in the same direction.
Employee manuals should contain:
- Mission Statement – to ensure employees understand company goals
- Hiring Process
- EEO Statement
- Harassment and Drug and Alcohol Policy
- Safe Workplace
- Conduct Rules and Disciplinary Process
Bold disclaimers should be included in all employee handbooks as well as a clear explanation of “at-will” employment. Court decisions have even created rights for employers to limit an employees’ access to the court system and restrict them to the arbitration process. It is always safer to rely upon written procedures rather than common practices of the business or unwritten procedures.
A|Squared’s 2cents: Please do not think that the employee manual is not important, it takes only one time to realize that it was a mistake by not having one, and by that time, it could be too late.