Employee Handbooks

An employee handbook, sometimes also known as an employee manual or staff handbook, is a book given to employees by an employer. Usually, the employee handbook contains information about company policies and procedures.

The employee handbook can be used to bring together employment and job-related information which employees need to know, such as holiday arrangements, company rules and disciplinary and grievance procedures. It can also provide useful source of information to new staff as part of the induction process. A written employee handbook gives clear advice to employees and creates a culture where issues are dealt with fairly and consistently.

Federal and state laws and the growing number of cases of employee related litigation against management strongly suggests that a written statement of company policy is a business necessity for firms of any size.
For example, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that in 2005, companies paid out more than $378 million in discrimination non-litigated settlements. In 2014, the EEOC received a total of 88,778 discrimination charges filed against private businesses.

Other examples of litigation against a company stemming from employee actions are the release of a customer’s private information and, of course, the actions of one employee against another; sexual harassment being this type of offensive employee conduct.

An effective Employee Handbook Company Policy Manual is a very obvious, simple and inexpensive answer to the question, “How does a business protect itself against lawsuits based on employee behavior?” There are several key elements that businesses should consider before implementing an Employee Handbook.

One of the most important aspects of any Employee Handbook Company Policy Manual is that the Employee Handbook Company Policy Manual is kept current. Laws change, and the Employee Handbook must be updated and kept current. Likewise, if a company chooses to publish its handbook in multiple languages, each version should be updated concurrently.

Other key characteristics of an employee handbook that help guard against employee lawsuits are that the Employee Handbook is attorney written and completed, and customized for each state; one size does not fit all. A New Mexico Employee Handbook should not be used in California. State laws may very well be different. For example, if a company wants to implement a Drug-free Workplace, an appropriate policy must be communicated to each employee in the Employee Handbook Company Policy Manual. Each state may have its own rules on how a Drug-free workplace is to be accomplished, and the information that must be communicated to employees. Florida and Texas are such states.