Importance of Employee Handbooks for Small Businesses

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Most businesses are aware of the value of written employment agreements to establish the roles and responsibilities of employees and address the legal obligations of employees with respect to confidential information upon termination. Employee contracts are an important step in preventing employee-related disputes and should be reviewed periodically as employment relationships and employment conditions evolve.

Importance-of-Employee-Handbooks-for-Small-Businesses-Article-8-300x225An equally important staple for both large and small businesses is creating and distributing employee handbooks. Although providing employee handbooks is not mandated by law in California, every business in California must have certain employee policies in writing. As such, it is generally accepted as sound employment practice to draft and circulate employee handbooks for both legal and non-legal reasons.

Employee handbooks summarize employment procedures and policies to all employees in a standardized context. They establish expectations between employers and employees, including the policies and benefits of employment, the manner of discipline employees may be subjected to, the terms of compensation and how employees should conduct themselves.

One of the most important goals of an employee handbook is to address applicable federal and state law regulations. Procedures for adhering to and reporting violations of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws, worker’s compensation laws and general wage, hour and overtime regulations are covered in employee handbooks. In California, employers are required to have a written policy against sexual discrimination. The law mandating this written policy specifies a portion of the required content as well as other details regarding reporting and acknowledgement procedures.

A well-drafted employee handbook is a necessary tool for maintaining employment relationships, ensuring clear communication and minimizing legal liability. While the size of the business will ultimately determine which laws it must adhere to and which employment policies are required to be written, creating an employee handbook is a wise decision for a business of any size. Standardized employee handbooks should generally be avoided; it is important to contact an attorney who will provide advice on drafting employee handbooks that are tailored to your specific business. Contact the experienced team of attorneys at Chase Law Group, P.C. at (310) 545-7700 or visit www.chaselawmb.com to schedule a consultation.