If you use an employee handbook, or are thinking about composing one, be careful what you write down. Employee handbooks can be very useful in outlining department rules and regulations, but getting too detailed or too restrictive could undermine your flexibility.
You may get in a situation in which you must conduct yourself according to a rule that you would prefer to avoid. Once written, if you fail to follow a specific rule, you may be subject to legal action from employees previously affected by that same rule. Also, after an accident, your employee handbook may be read to a jury. If you have to explain away something that is in your book, you are probably in trouble. It’s easy to end up with illegal or inappropriate items that can create problems.
The key to an employee handbook is to write only what you must. Maintain flexibility by using guidelines instead of rules. Make sure to have an expert in employment law read it before it is distributed to your staff.
Source: Lancer Insurance Co. in Long Beach, N.Y. For more info, visit www.lancer-ins.com or call (800) 782-8902.