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If you have employees, you need an employee handbook

Since you started your business, you probably discovered that you do a lot more paperwork than you ever intended to do. Even so, you understand its utility and power through it as needed.

If you have employees, you already know they require a significant amount of paperwork as well. One document that you may have overlooked, or are unsure how to prepare, is an employee handbook. If you employ people, you would definitely benefit from having one.

The basics of an employee handbook

A good start to any handbook would include policies such as the following:

  • A non-discrimination policy: Part of your job as a business owner is to protect your employees from discrimination, and your policies need to reflect its prohibition and a way for victims to bring it to your attention for investigation and resolution. Federal and California laws protect your employees from being discriminated against based on the following:
    • Age
    • Race
    • Gender
    • Religion
    • Disability
    • Pregnancy
    • And more
  • A code of conduct: Your employees need to know what you expect of them. Your handbook should address issues such as the dress code, ethics, attendance, workplace safety and more.
  • Communication policy: You can regulate the use of smart phones, computers and other technologies that you provide to your employees. Be sure to specifically state prohibited usages.
  • Compensation and benefits: These issues need to be clearly outlined in order to avoid any confusion that could lead to dissension.
  • New hires and separations: You will need to outline the procedures for incoming and outgoing employees with specificity. This could prevent any misunderstandings.
  • Acceptance: Each employee should sign an acknowledgement regarding the receipt and understanding of the handbook.

Including these provisions in your handbook could help prevent disputes that could result in litigation. This may be especially true for your discrimination policies. They need to provide potential victims with a safe way to make a complaint. Your employees need to clearly understand that all complaints receive the same attention, respect and confidentiality if possible. If you need to terminate someone's employment, clearly outline the steps you will take prior to that happening.

The goal of your employee handbook is to make sure that everyone has the same information despite his or her position in the company. Employees, supervisors, managers and you should all know how the company intends to handle a violation of its policies. The above policies are only a start. You may add any policies specific to your workplace and industry.

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