What Are the Benefits of Creating an Employee Handbook?
If you are a small business owner, you probably have a close relationship with your employees. You may believe that your employees know what is required of them and will continue to meet your expectations – even if those expectations have only been implied. Unfortunately, this type of thinking has gotten some business owners into hot water. Although you are likely overwhelmed with concerns that appear to be more immediate, the importance of creating a comprehensive employee handbook cannot be overstated. By putting your expectations, procedures, and policies in writing, you reduce your vulnerability to legal actions and increase your team’s productivity.
Protecting Your Business Against Lawsuits
As your business grows, you will likely hire more and more employees. It is certainly possible that some of these employees will not end up being a good fit for your business. This is one important reason why you need clear policies regarding employee expectations, disciplinary actions, and termination. If you do not have a consistent method for evaluating employees and recording any problems, you could be accused of discrimination in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Furthermore, creating these policies helps employees understand exactly what is expected of them. The key is to make sure you create policies that are realistic and achievable. Consistently abide by the policies you have put in place and do not forget to record any disciplinary actions you are taking.
Items to Include in Your Employee Handbook
There are certain topics that you must cover in your employee handbook by law. These include:
Non-discrimination policies: Make sure to include a statement affirming that your business abides by non-discrimination and equal employment opportunity laws.
Workers’ compensation policies: Explain your policies regarding workers’ compensation and on-the-job injuries.
Family medical leave policies: Make sure to include information about who can use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage and how to request FMLA.
It is also important to include:
A disclaimer stating that the employee handbook is not a contract
A clause explaining at-will employment
Policies about sexual harassment and discrimination
Accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
A substance-free workplace policy
Dress code policy
Hours of operation/expected number of hours worked per week
Information about payroll, overtime pay, paid time off (PTO), and vacation benefits
Contact a Fairfield County Business Law Attorney
If you are a Connecticut business owner, it is important to have an employee handbook regardless of the size of your company. The Law Offices of Peter V. Lathouris, LLC, have more than 30 years of experience helping clients with a variety of business needs including business entity formations, contract drafting and review, succession planning, and much more. Schedule a free initial consultation with a Stamford, CT business lawyer from our firm by calling our office today.