If you’re a new business owner, it may seem like there’s an unending list of things to do. One step you should not overlook is the creation of a policies and procedures manual. Also known as an employee handbook, these rules help businesses govern the workplace. They also protect the employer by setting forth the expectations and responsibilities of its employees.
A comprehensive, properly drafted handbook minimizes the risk of litigation from a current or former dissatisfied employee. If you have not drafted or recently updated a manual, a New York business lawyer can assist you.
What Is the Purpose of an Employee Handbook?
Besides bringing order to the workplace, an employee handbook serves a deeper purpose of reducing the chances of employee lawsuits. A good policies and procedures manual tells workers what to expect from the employer.
For example, it can establish employee benefits and explain in detail when and how they vest. This can manage employee expectations and thereby help avoid a claim that you, the employer, wrongly withheld said benefits.
Handbooks also set forth certain workplace procedures which are vital to reducing the risk of litigation. When a company details how various internal matters will be handled, allegations of discriminatory conduct become less likely.
As an example, a manual should include details about:
- The employee’s job expectations
- Periodic performance reviews
- How exactly employee performance will be evaluated.
Provided the employer enforces these procedures, employees will have a more difficult time claiming illegal or unfair business practices.
How Does a Policies and Procedures Manual Benefit Your New Business?
Employee handbooks help employers accomplish these and related objectives:
- Avoiding or reducing the chances of harassment and discrimination lawsuits
- Setting clear and fair procedures for handling numerous internal issues, such as employee performance reviews
- Defining conflicts of interest and other ethical issues and how they will be addressed
- Reducing and resolving workplace conflicts between employees
- Setting rules for compensation, benefits, bonuses, insurance, vacation and sick days, etc.
- Protecting the business’s trade secrets and other confidential information
- Promoting workplace safety and security
- Improving the overall morale and productivity of the company.
These manuals exist to not only protect your company’s legal interests but also to help it thrive commercially. Retaining an experienced New York business lawyer is essential to properly drafting a policies and procedures manual.
How Our Legal Team Can Help Your Business
When a business law client hires us to help with its employee manuals, we start by reviewing existing policies. Some companies have rules and procedures in place but they may be disorganized, poorly communicated, or outdated. We can examine your current policies and advise you on ways to add to and enhance them.
Part of this involves reviewing your business operations, which is also critical if you don’t already have policies in place. We take a look at how your company is run and identify potential legal risks. We also explain relevant business laws and regulations and discuss the types of rules and procedures we will recommend. Then we take steps to help you adopt rules that are customized to your needs.
Lastly, we can help you revise an old manual if you previously created one. This is a critical step because laws and regulations are constantly changing. If your policies and procedures don’t keep up, you may be leaving yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit. You might even be inadvertently breaking the law.
Our firm has a duty to know how and when business rules change. We can therefore apply our experience and knowledge to help with your employee handbook.
Put Our Legal Skills to Work for Your Organization
Strong policies and procedures are the business of every company. A seasoned business law firm can assist your organization avoid unnecessary risks by having these rules in place. Find out why so many companies trust the New York business law attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor. Reach out to us today.