Proactive businesses use employee handbooks for several practical and legal reasons. “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” That is especially true when it comes to hiring and maintaining employees for our business. Businesses use employee handbooks to develop better employer-employee relationships, define each person’s rights and responsibilities, and to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.
An employer can use an employee handbook to clearly define the employer-employee relationship. Employees may see their employer everyday, all day, or only occasionally. It is human nature for individuals to want to define their relationship with another person. Our Country’s founding fathers took great care in defining the people’s relationship with their government. Our children spend a lifetime defining their relationship with their parents. The only other person we spend more time with than our government and our families is our employer, our co-worker, or our employee. Likewise, we should start early to define our relationship with our employee before our employees define the relationship.
The best way to solve a problem with an employee is to prevent the problem from ever occurring in the first place. Use the employee handbook to give your workers notice of their responsibilities to each other and to the business. Define your expectations first, before any mistakes are made.
Regulation in the workplace has been increasing since World War II. Regulation was necessary during that time, especially in the hazardous manufacturing industry. Now, it seems as though there are more regulations concerning the relationships of people in the workplace than regulations about how long to work, under what conditions, and for how much money. Our businesses are subject to a long list of laws and regulations, any of which an employee can use to sue his or her employer:
(1) Fair Labor Standards Act,
(3) Title VII,
(4) Sexual Harassment,
(6) ADA, and
(7) Wrongful Termination
The handbook will address your business’ policies and procedures and bring your business into compliance with the above laws. We realize that many of you may not be experts in all of the areas of law in the above list. That’s ok. The handbook will show a trial judge or jury panel that you attempted at compliance by drafting procedures and policies for your business and then having a good attorney review them. Employers who use an employee handbook can show the book as proof of sound and uniform policies.
The benefits of having a good handbook are two-fold. The first benefit is a happier workplace and the second is limiting the business’ liability in court. Where is your handbook?