Employee handbooks serve an important function in the operation of any business. Employee handbooks are one means by which employers get to introduce themselves to their employees, and to also outline what employer and employee can expect from one another during the course of the employment relationship. Employee handbooks are not, however, contracts of employment, and it is important that this specific disclaimer be clearly stated in the written material. In California, the general rule is that the relationship between employer and employee is “at-will,” which simply means that the employment relationship can be terminated by either party with or without cause or notice.
Although the relationship between employer and employee in California is at-will, and can be terminated without cause, employers are obligated to abide by various state and federal laws which dictate what employers may or may not do in their employment practices. For example, both state and federal law prohibit discrimination, harassment and retaliation at work. A well written employee handbook should, therefore, spell out an employer’s anti-discrimination, harassment and retaliation policy, as both state and federal law expect employers to guard against discriminatory practices at work.
Employee handbooks are not intended to be novellas, nor are they technically legal documents. All the while, care must be undertaken in their preparation. A well written employee handbook will typically cover the following non-exclusive areas:
- Job classification
- Work Schedules
- Employee benefits & compensation
- Standards of Conduct
- Leaves of Absences & Disability
- Employee use of and access to company computers, e-mail, phones and other proprietary equipment and information
At the Law Office of George G. Romain we understand the importance of a carefully crafted employee handbooks. We recognize that there is no such thing as a “one-size fits all” approach to preparing such important documents, which is why we sit down with our employer clients to better understand their needs, expectations and desires in the governance of their workplace. Equally important, employee handbooks must be updated from time-to-time in order to reflect any necessary changes in law.
Learn more about how a well written and comprehensive employee handbook can help protect your company, by calling the Law Office of George G. Romain.