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Mistakes to Avoid in the Employee Handbook

A poorly written employee handbook can expose a company to a litany of issues and unforeseen liability. A well-written handbook is a valuable investment that will save a business countless resources in the long term. Thatcher Law Firm has drafted and updated employee handbooks for small and large businesses for decades.

Typical handbook mistakes to avoid include the following:

Boilerplate/Form Handbooks: A company adopts a form handbook at its own peril. Anyone can locate a stock handbook online, however, these generic handbooks often are more harmful than maintaining no handbook at all. Each jurisdiction has its own wrinkles, and specific laws that may impact a handbook policy. Additionally, each company operates uniquely with different expectations and procedures.

Undermining Employment At-Will Relationship: Be sure to include a disclaimer that the company handbook does not alter the at-will employment relationship. 

Inflexible Disciplinary Policy: Do not make promises the company will not keep. Remember that the more specific the handbook, the more chance for mistakes and wiggle room for attorneys to argue that a policy was not followed. Include a disclaimer that the company reserves the right to skip disciplinary steps as necessary based on the circumstances.

No Anti-Harassment Policy: Create a policy for reporting harassment in the workplace. The policy should indicate the person or persons to whom an employee should report harassment.

Hard Cap on Medical Leave: When providing leave for an employee covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the law requires an individualized assessment. A hard cap on medical leave can create legal problems.

Not Updated: Local, State, and Federal laws all change frequently. An out-of-date employee handbook can lead to significant exposure for the company.

Contact the Thatcher Law Firm with all your employee handbook needs. Our firm has extensive experience updating employee handbooks to ensure compliance with the ever changing employment landscape.

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