Care should be taken when drafting employee manuals to provide clear policies. It is also important that all new employees be required to sign a form acknowledging that they have read the employee handbook and understand the contents contained therein.
Specific policies, such as the company’s policy on handling employee grievances may be cost efficient if written effectively. For example, a well-written and well-executed sexual harassment policy may preclude costly litigation. In addition, supervisors should be trained with regard to the implementation of the policies and procedures. Companies open themselves up to liability when they fail to follow their own procedures. However, if employee complaints are handled seriously and a company follows its own procedures, it will reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit and even improve employee relations in the process.
In drafting employment handbooks, there are also provisions that employers may not be aware of. It may be surprising to learn that employers in New York and New Jersey are not legally required to provide paid vacation or sick leave to their employees. Nonetheless, if a company chooses to offer neither, it may be a disadvantage when trying to attract high-quality employees.