Employee Handbooks Continue to be Important in Protecting a Business -- Is Your's Updated?

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In one of our original posts, which is reprinted below, we discussed the importance of an employee handbook in protecting a business. As readers of this blog are aware, employment laws are constantly changing and implementing and updating, as necessary, a business’s employee handbook helps ensure compliance the law and reduces the risk of liability. Given the recent changes to employment laws, the importance of a handbook in protecting a business cannot be overstated and the five reasons listed below remain as applicable, if not more so, as they did in the past.

If you have questions about your business’s handbook other employment policies, please contact us at (201) 345-5412 or use our online scheduling page to set up a complimentary consultation.

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Most employers understand that they should implement an employee handbook containing written employment and human resources policies.  Unfortunately, many small and medium sized businesses delay implementing a handbook either due to mistaken concerns of cost, a sense that implementation of a handbook can be delayed, or a feeling that one is unnecessary because their workplace is very congenial.  Such employers are missing out on very valuable advantages that handbooks create in the workplace.  Five of these are outlined below.  A handbook:

1.   Establishes Uniform Workplace Policies

 A handbook establishes uniform policies and procedures for handling human resources matters, which if followed, will minimize the risk that an employee will be able to successfully claim discriminatory treatment.

 2.  Communicates Employer Expectations to Employees

 A clearly drafted handbook will communicate to employees the employer's expectations for such things as attendance, working hours, behavior in the workplace, and social media issues.

 3.  Highlights Employee Benefits

 A strong employee benefit package will increase employee morale and retention and a business's handbook should outline the employee benefits that the company provides so that employees are aware of their potential benefits.  

 4.  Ensures Compliance with Applicable Laws

 Some laws, such as municipal paid sick leave laws, require that certain policies be provided to employees in writing.  A handbook containing all such applicable policies ensures an employer's compliance with such legal requirements.

 5.  Aids in Defense of Employee Claims

 Implementation of an employee handbook containing an effective anti-harassment policy provides an affirmative defense to any claims of unlawful harassment or discrimination.  Appropriate policies in a handbook can also provide a safe harbor from liability for certain payroll errors.

 Not only should employers implement employee handbooks, they should also ensure that their handbooks are reviewed and updated regularly due to the frequent changes in employment laws.

Please feel free to contact me if your business needs an employee handbook or has one that may need updating.