There are several reasons why companies should provide their staff with an employee handbook. For starters, it helps streamline the onboarding process, explains company policies and provides employees with relevant resources. But more importantly, a handbook helps protect management against possible lawsuits in case of an incident. Let’s now go over some specific ways that this is beneficial from a legal standpoint.
There is No Confusion When it Comes to Expectations
When a company lacks a formal handbook, it can quickly lead to misunderstandings – and it opens the door for unacceptable behavior. However, having a handbook lays down the ground rules for what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior, which keeps everyone on the same page. For example, by being clear about what constitutes harassment, you minimize the number of incidents that occur. In turn, it’s likely to reduce the number of conflicts and complications within your workplace and help operations run with less friction.
It Helps You Stay Compliant with Laws
There are numerous federal and state laws that businesses must stay compliant with in order to avoid penalties and lawsuits. By creating a thorough employee handbook that highlights these laws and explains the entitlements of your employees, you can keep your business in the clear and avoid any unnecessary headaches.
It Shows Fair and Consistent Treatment Among All Employees
According to MultiBriefs, “many employment lawsuits hinge on consistent treatment of employees and/or ensuring that employees were on notice of important company policies and procedures.” A handbook is advantageous because it shows that all employees are expected to adhere to the same policies and guidelines. It also shows that employee discipline is carried out the same way regardless of who it is, which will be beneficial if you’re accused of wrongful termination or unfair treatment.
It’s an Excellent Defense in Court
Generally speaking, it’s best for businesses to take a “when” rather than “if” approach to lawsuits. Not to be pessimistic, but we live in a litigation-happy society where employment lawsuits are all too common. MultiBriefs also points out that “a well-written handbook is the first step of a successful defense of unemployment or other legal claims” from current or former employees. By having tangible evidence that an employee was given notice about a particular policy and explained what the consequences would be if the policy was violated, it should help your defense stand up in court.
As a business owner, it’s important to do everything within your power to protect your company from litigation. By developing an employee handbook that covers all the bases, you can operate with greater peace of mind and minimize any damages that might stem from a lawsuit.
For more information on running your business more effectively, check out our management tips.