This is not your first year in business. You already know it is important to manage your employees well and to communicate your expectations to them, including in a well-crafted employee handbook beyond a loose-leaf binder of policy samples printed from the internet. Here are seven reasons why you may benefit from an employment lawyer reviewing and updating your employee handbook—or drafting one for you. Here are seven reasons why you need an employee handbook – why it is essential to have something better than a loose-leaf binder of policy samples printed from the internet:
1. Have clearly stated and shared expectations, without any variances from one employee to the next. It is easy to fall into the trap of “I will share with the employees all they need to know during orientation,” only to find out that, without realizing the danger, you created an environment of favoritism and the potential for an employment discrimination claim against your business.
2. Solidify your values and management philosophy. We all want to work towards a better future. We believe that good management begets good workplaces, and good workplaces create and sell excellent products and services. The best way to express your belief in a fair, professional management of your business is to craft policies that reflect your fundamental impartiality, honesty, and your earnest desire to bring good into the world.
3. Standardize your policies and make them easy to enforce. Employers are often subject to requests from employees to break or bend the rules. It is best to have something in writing, announced earlier in the employment relationship, that you can point to when an employee comes to you with a request that you can’t or rather would not fulfill.
4. Save time during a new employee’s orientation by handing over the handbook. Explaining all the policies to your newest hire would take you the better part of a workday or more. Save yourself the time and make sure that you share all of your policies with all of your employees. Reduce the cost on your management by having a concise handbook in which they can find answers to most employee questions.
5. Protect your company and your individual assets by having written policies in place. As an employment lawyer who cut her teeth on employee-side litigation, I cannot stress this point enough. Many policies are simply required by statute, and not having them in place gives room for a savvy plaintiff’s lawyer to argue that the lack of the required policy reflects your company’s general willingness to ignore or violate laws. You should also have policies that exemplify a firm commitment to equal employment opportunity, diversity, and inclusion. And, finally, you must have policies that require accurate timekeeping and following the mandated rest and lunch break periods by your non-exempt employees. Having written policies also acts as a reminder to your employees to not violate the anti-harassment and -discrimination laws. Such behavior, unless deterred, would result in liability not only for the employee but, also, to your company and, potentially, you.
6. Firmly state “at-will” employment and protect it throughout the employment relationship. Well-intentioned mistakes made by managers or firm owners can wreak havoc on a company’s plans of growth and success. Protect yourself against losing the right to immediately terminate a low-performing employee by stating and reaffirming the precise boundaries of your at-will employment policies. Doing so also protects your company from a bevy of wrongful termination claims.
7. Protect your company’s assets including its and its clients’ confidential information. Well-crafted employee handbooks state policies that protect the company’s property, including not only the premises, computers, and systems, but all the information and data you painstakingly assembled of your customers, your proprietary production processes, and materials, your vendors, etc. Protection of your customers’ confidential information protects you from litigation and the sullying of your reputation. This reason alone is well worth the cost of hiring a lawyer who is experienced in drafting employee handbooks.
And a BONUS Reason: Have you wondered if you were providing just the right amount of employee benefits and leave rights? Providing employees with certain benefits is a serious, and expensive, decision. Remove all doubt and make sure you are providing the required minimum of policies for your company’s size, and only provide more once you have evaluated the costs and administrative needs of doing so. Having a lawyer review your handbook to ensure you meet minimum compliance requirements and not more can save you money in the long run.
If you are convinced that this is a good idea, we have good news for you. The Vanegas Law Group is offering, for a limited time, a flat-rate employee handbook service.
2022 Employee Handbook Review Special
Refer to Coupon Code HB22
Request Your Employee Handbook Today
Offer valid through January 31, 2022. Prepaid flat rate legal services.
Rate varies from $980.00 depending on employer size.