It is essential for all businesses to have employment policies in place to protect their business. However, some business owners might forgo creating an employee handbook as long as they have such policies in place.

In many cases, crafting an employee handbook only helps to solidify company policies. It can ensure that employees understand what is expected of them. Employers take proactive action to prevent disputes if they have a handbook readily available to employees right when they start with the company.

Why is it beneficial to have an employee handbook?

An employee handbook informs employees about:

  • The rules, procedures and policies they must follow;
  • Their employer’s expectations; and
  • The potential consequences if they disregard these rules.

Providing this information directly helps employers protect their business. For example, employees cannot claim they did not know about a specific policy or rule if employers provide them with an employee handbook with all of the rules and policies. This could make it difficult for employees to file a claim against their employer.

What should employers include in their employee handbook?

California employers can include as many details in their employee handbook as they wish. However, there are some critical topics employers should cover in their handbook, including, but not limited to:

  • Compensation: Describe what employees can expect to earn, as well as what actions could result in a pay deduction or withholding. This can help prevent wage and hour lawsuits.
  • Confidentiality: Make the company policies about an employee’s conflicts of interest and the expectation of confidentiality clear. It is beneficial to include an explanation of consequences if employees do breach confidentiality.
  • The code of conduct: This can include anything from how employees should dress to the company’s policies about discrimination and harassment.

In general, the more policies that employers cover in the handbook, the more protections they create for themselves in the event of a lawsuit.

Note: Employers must also follow the employee handbook

With some exceptions, employers must also follow the guidelines and policies they outline in their employee handbook. Disregarding the company policies listed in the handbook could put employers and their businesses at risk. It could counteract the measures they took with the handbook to avoid a legal issue.