Dust off that Employee Handbook

October 28, 2014

An employee handbook too often becomes a dusty tool that is relegated to a remote shelf. In fact, it is a vital communication channel for your employees. It’s best to realize that before you are sitting in your attorney’s office, trying to prepare a defense to a suit or claim and wishing that you had included or excluded statements in your employee handbook.

A well-prepared, updated, and flexible handbook not only becomes your first line of defense to a suit or claim, it also can make your life easier. Here are some actions you can take to answer questions, solve problems, and defuse situations:  

  • Get court tested language that will shorten the time period in which employees must bring claims;
  • Find out why you NEED a leave of absence policy, regardless of whether or not you’re covered by the Family Medical Leave Act;
  • Learn what policies are required to be included in your employee handbook;
  • Educate yourself, so that you can educate your supervisors, about the number one thing NOT to do when faced with a baseless harassment claim;
  • Become skilled at spotting potential legal landmines in paid time off policies; and
  • Discover what sentences in your employee handbook can become slam dunk legal defenses.

Contributed by Melissa J. Jackson, Attorney, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC.