The best employee handbook (otherwise known as an employment handbook)is one which is specifically tailored to your industry and designed for your particular business. An employment lawyer is the best person that can review your employee handbook and provide the best legal advice and help you with drafting or finalizing your employee handbook.
The first thing that an employer should know about an employee handbook, is that its primary purpose is to minimize liability and legal exposure by communicating your policies clearly and by providing consistency with your particular guidelines. Additionally, an employee handbook can give you additional defenses in Court which include the Faragher defense in sexual harassment cases, estoppel defenses, waiver defenses, and assumption of risk defenses.
A good employee handbook also provides employees with a process to resolve conflict and to prevent the escalation of employee-related issues which are best resolved through dialogue, management input, or human resource intervention. Oftentimes employees need a process to vent their issues and have a way to have a level of review rather than an employee feel that litigation is their only recourse.
The employee handbook also serves as a reference to prevent common employment-related violations which include following the right processes for record keeping, time card recording, paid time off, pay issues, deductions, FMLA, and to help prevent discrimination as required by Title VII and Florida Statute Chapter 760.
Employee Handbook – A Common Misconception explained by Attorney
Many employers are under the mistaken belief that just because the law permits an employer to hire or fire for any reason (this is known as the “employment-at-will doctrine”), that the employer does not need to have an employee handbook. This is an incorrect view of employment law, because, even though the employment at will doctrine does provide a lot of flexibility to the employer, it is not absolute. This means that the employer must still follow all laws rules and regulations concerning employment, and it also means that the employer can not terminate an employee if the reason for the termination is retaliatory based on the employee complaining or reporting something that is legally protected.
An employee handbook is not difficult to have done properly. Our law firm charges $500 to discuss with you your legal needs, review your existing handbook and policies, and provide legal comments and legal feedback to help make your employee handbook consistent with best practices, and the current state of the law. If you need an employment handbook drafted from scratch, the cost is only $750 which includes the initial consult cost.
In sum, there are many benefits of having an Employee Handbook. These benefits include:
- Setting consistent guidelines for similarly situated employees to follow.
- Provides a process for grievances and resolution of employment-related issues without litigation.
- Sets out the most common legal pitfalls to avoid such as wage and pay infractions, discrimination laws, workplace safety and harassment.
Attorney Maurice Arcadier is Board certified in labor and employment law and has helped hundreds of businesses become legally compliant. Mr. Arcadier strives to help its employer clients minimize legal exposure and thereby avoid unnecessary risks and legal fees. Mr. Arcadier is the managing partner of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC and resides in Melbourne, Florida – Brevard County.