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Mistakes to Avoid in the Employee Handbook

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2016 | Employment Contracts |

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 Zavaro & Mani 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 An out-of-date employee handbook can lead to significant exposure for the company.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 Thatcher Zavaro & Mani with all your employee handbook needs. Our firm has extensive experience updating employee handbooks to ensure compliance with the ever changing employment landscape.