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An employee handbook is an important workplace document. It formally explains to employees the company's policies, procedures and work rules. In addition, the handbook may discuss any additional programs the company may offer employees.
Because there are so many legal considerations affecting employee handbooks, most experts recommend that an attorney review the handbook before it is distributed to employees.
The three main legal issues are as follows:
Effective disclaimers state that the new handbook replaces all previous editions of the handbook. They also limit the application of the policies in the handbook and refute the notion that the handbook creates any kind of contract between the employee and employer. The disclaimers may be at the beginning of the handbook, or in various places throughout the document.
Disclaimers help the company protect itself when issuing handbooks by stating that the company reserves the right to terminate employees without following full disciplinary procedures.
2. Appropriate language
Appropriate language means that the handbook should be free of discriminatory language, and that no guarantees or promises are made or implied. Appropriate language also means that the language accurately states the company's policies and procedures.
3. Controlled distribution
Controlled distribution means that the company keeps a record that verifies that all employees have received the handbook. The employee should sign a statement acknowledging receipt of the handbook and agreeing that the handbook does not constitute an employment contract.
As an HR professional, you may be asked to write or review an employee handbook for your company. In order to be able to do so, you will need to understand the criteria for implementing the legal considerations effectively. The employee handbook is one of the most important documents at a company. It clarifies information for employees, and can provide important legal protection.
Downloadable Templates and Topic Briefs
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Guide to HIPAA Terms
Polices, Procedures, and Work Rules
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
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The following are recommended training courses for learning more about Employee Handbooks:
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- Developing an Employee Handbook
On-line Link to Your Company’s Employee Handbook
Manpower can provide you, the HR Consultative, support to create your Employee Handbook as well as provide an on-line link for your employees to enjoy the ease of reviewing company policies and procedures.
For assistance with these services, please contact Manpower’s HR staffing consultants at (937)534-7416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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