What Does Your Handbook Say?

Do you even know? The employee handbook will (or should) answer many HR questions, and it is usually my first response to a client’s question.  The handbook should be the guide for HR, managers and the employees.  And while it won’t answer every question, it may give the quick answer, or direction for the answer (“Go see HR.”).

Seems simple enough, but what if the handbook isn’t compliant with employment laws or is outdated? Or what if it no longer suits the needs of organization?  What if the handbook is disorganized, or written in a complicated style?  If your handbook is just sitting on the shelf gathering dust, you might want to consider doing some housekeeping.

In nearly all employment disputes, the employee handbook is admissible evidence. If it is current, well written, and consistently practiced it can add a layer of protection for the employer.  If the handbook is not practiced or poorly written it can be evidence of a violation.  Which side would you like your handbook to support?

J.W. Terrill provides a Handbook Development Service in which we customize a handbook to fit an individual organization. Our process involves checking for regulatory compliance, supporting company culture and coordinating policies to avoid conflict. This works well for employers with 50 or more employees which have heightened employment obligations.

For smaller organizations, (less than 50 employees) there should still be structure and guidelines in place so everyone knows the expectations. But small groups do not need to comply with every employment law and communication could be as simple as standing in the middle of the office to address the employees. So a handbook for a small organization should fit the small organization. We now have a service specifically for small organizations, because every organization should be able to answer, “What does your handbook say?”

For information on handbook services please contact hrconsulting@jwterrill.com.

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