Many businesses, particularly small businesses with only a few employees, overlook the importance of employee handbooks. However, a well-drafted employee handbook can not only create a more pleasant work environment, but it can also provide an employer a defense against lawsuits. Employment law in Dallas TX tends to favor employees, and an employer can get into hot water without specific, enumerated and concise policies and procedures. The Dallas employment attorneys at Simon | Paschal PLLC represent employers in a wide variety of matters, including preparation of employee handbooks. Here are 4 reasons why a new business should not go without one.
1. Employee handbooks set forth the employee’s rights and responsibilities.
An employee handbook should put every employee on notice about his or her job responsibilities as well as the company’s rules and regulations. Employee handbooks clearly enumerate the company’s policies on paid time off, breaks, sick leave, personal use of company phones and computers, restricted areas, compensation, benefits, and termination. An employer that notifies its employees of all its policies with a well-written employee handbook may use that handbook as a shield if the employee later tries to say he or she was treated differently from other employees based upon protected status.
Further, certain state and federal employment laws and regulations, such as the Family Medical Leave Act, require that certain employers notify employees about their rights under such laws. The employee handbook is the perfect place to provide that notice.
2. Employee handbooks set forth the company’s expectations.
The employee handbook provides employees with guidelines on how the employees should behave and conduct the company’s business. When an employee does break the rules, the employer can use the employee handbook to defend itself if a terminated employee seeks unemployment compensation or, as stated above, tries to claim discrimination. If the company handbook clearly states that an employee will be terminated if he or she is more than 30 minutes late on three separate occasions, an employee who breaks that rule will have little to stand on if they to collect unemployment.
3. Employee handbooks outline policies regarding discrimination and harassment.
Company management and employees should be on notice of all state and federal laws regarding discrimination, harassment, and whistleblowing. A company can be held responsible for the acts of its management, but if the management acts against company policy, the damage to the company may be less. All management and employees should be aware of what actions constitute sexual harassment and other types of harassment as well as different types of discrimination. Also, certain employment law in Dallas TX punishes employers if an employee is terminated after reporting the company for wrongdoing. If the employee handbook solidly addresses these issues, it may shield the company from some or all liability if an employee sues down the road.
4. Employee handbooks can protect the company’s trade secrets and proprietary information.
The handbook should outline what employees are permitted to disclose to others regarding the work the company does, as well as any limitations on employees taking work home and making copies of proprietary information. The handbook should also be very clear about the company’s email policies – if the company monitors all employee emails, the handbook had best say so – it will keep email conversations professional and also protect the company from suits over privacy issues.
There are many reasons to use an employee handbook to stay on the right side of employment law. Dallas TX attorneys at Simon | Paschal PLLC draft employee handbooks for companies of all sizes and can make sure your company’s handbook protects you and your employees. Call us today at (972) 893-9340 to learn more.
[osky-citation keyword=”Employment Law Dallas TX”]
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