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The Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

A man taking notes in an employee handbook.

Here at the ISP Network, we recently attended an EPLI (employment practices liability insurance) conference, and one of the subjects that was spoken on was the importance of an employee handbook. Employee handbooks are essential for any organization, because they set proper expectations and can protect you as the employer.

Having an employee handbook in place allows you to a set a specific set of guidelines for your organization. You can set rules, deadlines, dress codes, organization methods, and much more within an employee handbook. It’s imperative that you include a disclaimer, introduction, equal employment opportunity section, attendance policy, non-harassment policy, and fraternization policy, just to cover the basics. You can include any additional policies you’d like, but make sure they are non-discriminatory.

It’s important to require employees to indicate that they’ve received, read, and agree to the policies contained in the company handbook by requiring them to sign a document stating as much. Now, if they were to break any of the rules or policies outlined  in the handbook, you have it documented in writing that they agreed to comply with your company’s guidelines. As we’ve heard, this will help you avoid suffering a follow-up “wrongful termination” trial or having to face any legal liabilities, because if an employee signed a handbook and distinctly went against its policy, it is considered an “at-will” termination, and therefore legal. If an employee refuses to sign your handbook, you may choose to handle that however you like, but you could willfully terminate an employee in that situation as well if you feel they could be a threat to your organization.

If you create handbook with an efficient and clear set of guidelines, and require a signature from each of your employees, you will help solidify the safety of your company.

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