Why is it important to have an employee handbook?
Employee handbooks are not required under New York law, but having a comprehensive employee handbook is essential to the smooth operation of your business. Employee handbooks define the parameters of your employer-employee relationship. Laying out the basic rules and guidelines for employment will help to minimize the potential for future employment conflicts. Our New York City employee handbook lawyers at Thomas M. Lancia PLLC discuss the basic clauses that every employee handbook should contain below.
Employee Handbook Essentials
An employee handbook should set out your basic employment policies. An incomplete or poorly written handbook will not protect your company, which makes it imperative that you consult with an employment law attorney to craft a thorough handbook.
- Disclaimer: Your handbook should have a disclaimer that states that the handbook does not constitute a contract of employment. A lack of notice could leave employers vulnerable to being sued by a terminated employee for breach of contract.
- Sexual Harassment Policy: Sexual harassment is a significant problem in workplaces across New York. Employers can protect themselves against lawsuits based on sexual harassment by including a sexual harassment policy in their employee handbook. Your policy should make it clear that the workplace does not tolerate sexual harassment and employees should report any concerning behavior they observe.
- Employee Definitions: Your employee handbook should define what constitutes full time and contract employees. Handbooks should avoid terms like permanent or part time.
- Family Medical Leave Policies: Under federal law, employees working for employers of a certain size must provide qualifying employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a child or a family member with a serious health condition. Your handbook should set out your policies concerning family medical leave and related sick leave.
- Employee Acknowledgement Page: To protect your business, your handbook should include an acknowledgement page that your employees will sign and return. The acknowledgement should confirm that the employee read the handbook and agrees to follow its policies. The signed copy of the acknowledgement should be included in the employee’s personnel file.
For assistance with creating your employee handbook, contact an employment law attorney as soon as possible.