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.