One of the very first things any established business should do is to draft a legally-binding employee handbook, also known as an employee manual. For many business owners, this crucial step is skipped over. In some cases, a company deems themselves too small to worry about this document, putting it off for the day they build an HR team. However, just because you are small or new on the scene, doesn’t mean you can get by without this critical document.
Ultimately, an employee manual serves to protect both you and your staff. It covers important policies, such as sexual harassment policies. As local employment lawyers in San Diego, we help businesses small and large draft up this important manual. Check out the following reasons why, no matter what industry you are in, you need an employee manual.
Small Doesn’t Mean Safe
It is a common mistake among new business owners. They look at their tiny company and the small number of people they have on staff and they wager that they are safe. After all, if you know the three employees you have hired and trust them immensely, why bother creating an employee manual? Isn’t this just a formality?
Unfortunately, it is often small or young businesses that are at the greatest risk for employee lawsuits for just this reason. They underestimate their risks. Just because you feel like you know every person on your staff doesn’t mean you are safe. Business is brutal, and if there is one thing you need to do, it is to protect your company. Maybe you really do have an excellent team who would never dream of bringing a lawsuit against you, but why take that risk? Setting yourself up for success early on will make it easier as you grow.
The bottom line? Never underestimate risk.
Proof Of Proper Practices
Ultimately, having an employee handbook acts as a protection for your company in the case of a lawsuit. This document will serve as binding proof that you had the right policies in place. This is critical when you are fighting an employee lawsuit.
Because this manual will act as proof of the practices you have in place, be sure you work with a lawyer experienced in employment laws. Your lawyer can help ensure you have the right policies in place to protect your business.
Safety For Your Team
While you might utilize your employee manual one day as protection against a lawsuit, the reality is that an employee manual is also there to help promote safety for your team. Even if you think you know your staff, it is impossible for you to be 100 percent certain about the character of every person who ever works for you.
Having policies and procedures in place helps protect every person on your team. This ensures that employees you hire feel safe and valued.
Protection For Your Management
Being in a management role can be risky. When a disgruntled employee wants to exact revenge, ugly lawsuits can ensue. By providing your team with an employee manual, you can help ensure the protection of those in management. If there are distinct procedures in place that are followed carefully, your management can rest easier, knowing that they are safe.
Including The Right Policies And Procedures
If you are in need of an employee handbook, make sure that you include important procedures and policies within the manual. Be sure that your staff can easily understand the handbook as well. The first place to begin is to familiarize yourself with federal and local employment laws. These laws dictate a lot of what will be necessary to cover, as well as any policies and notices that you need to post around your place of work. A good place to begin is at www.dol.gov, which outlines an array of information regarding employment laws and workplace issues.
In the case that your business operates in multiple states, things will become even more complex. You will need to ensure that you cover the requirements of each state carefully.
Once you have an employee handbook drafted and you have it looked over by your lawyer, it is time to get it in the hands of your team. Make sure every member has a copy and take time to go over the policies and procedures in a group meeting.
Schedule A Consultation Today
Is your company in need of an employee manual? Our team can help. As local employment lawyers in San Diego, we have experience working with businesses of all sizes who need assistance with drafting up this vital document. We can help you understand both local and federal employment laws to ensure that you do not overlook any important items to include in your handbook. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.