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DRAFTING AN EMPLOYMENT HANDBOOK

DRAFTING AN EMPLOYMENT/EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK

A comprehensive employee handbook is critical in a work environment to help set expectations for both the employer and employees.  Through a handbook, an employer is able to communicate its policies,  expectations and rules so that employees clearly understand the behavior that is expected in the work place.  It also forms a written point of reference for employees who may be uncomfortable requesting a meeting with management to ask questions that they may consider to be sensitive. 

A handbook is also important to establish standards of discipline and to establish a fair and consistent mechanism for equal and fair treatment with respect to benefits administration, discipline and termination.  This is a benefit for both the employer and employee.  For employees, the handbook assists in avoiding discipline, adverse employment action and possible termination.  For an employer, it provides the basis for defending a lawsuit by an employee who claims unfair or unequal treatment.

There is generally no standard handbook for all employers. Each employer typically drafts a handbook that reflects its culture, rules and procedures.  Each employer must carefully consider what information should be included in its handbook to ensure that most areas of concerns are addressed. The following is a list of topics and sample index for such a handbook.  The specific contents are typically tailored to reflect each employer's specific industry and situation.

EMPLOYMENT HANDBOOK - SELECT TOPICS/INDEX

COMPANY'S MISSION AND POLICIES
    Firm's  Mission Statement
    Employee Relations Philosophy                     
    Open Door Policy                                  
    Equal Employment Opportunity                      
    Anti-Discrimination/Non-Harassment Policy                        
    Categories of Employment Defined                      
          -Full time
          -Part time
          -Interns
          -Independent Contractor 
     Policy on Employment References

EMPLOYEE PAY AND PROGRESS                        
     Employee Compensation Policy and how Determined
     Performance Reviews                          
     Pay Periods
     Commissions

YOUR EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS               
     Paid Holidays                          
     Vacation Days                          
     Personal Leave                              
     Sick Leave                                  
     Temporary/Part-time Employees               
     Jury Duty                              
     Bereavement Leave                      
     Leave of Absence                            
     Military Leave                         
     Health Care Plan                            
     Dental Coverage    
     Life Insurance          
     Profit Sharing Plan/Retirement Plan
     401(k) Plan
    ON THE JOB                   
     Hours of Work           
     Lunch Break                  
     Cell Phones and Pagers In Office       
     Attendance and Punctuality   
     Keys               
     Personnel Information Changes
     Confidential Matters
     Dress Code     
     Overtime Policy

TELEPHONES, OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
     Office Telephone Policy                          
     Internet Usage and Email
     Personal Use of Other Office Equipment
     Computer Usage

STANDARD OF CONDUCT


DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES
                       


Appendix - Additional Acknowledgments to be Signed by Employee upon Hire  

Appendix A - Receipt of Handbook
Appendix B - Harassment and Reporting Policy
Appendix C - Incident Report/Complaint Form
Appendix D - Firm's Computers and Internet Policy
Appendix E - Confidentiality Agreements
Appendix F - Non Complete/Restrictive Covenant

Our experienced employment attorneys assist companies in this regard by analyzing the nature of their business, industry customs and norms as well as the applicable laws in drafting customized handbooks.

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