Employee Handbook: Why Every Business Needs One

It is essential that every business owner drafts a written Employee Handbook that contains written policies that all employees must follow before a formal Complaint can be investigated. Every business should have a written policy that addresses harassment, intimidation, and bullying. It should define when these situations occur and provide all employees with a procedure that they must follow before a formal Complaint can be investigated. In addition, all Employee Handbooks should clearly define whether the employment is an at-will employment, which means that an employee can terminate his or her employment at any time or for any reason. Likewise, an employer can terminate any employee’s employment at any time for any reason or no reason.

The Basics

Each Employee Handbook must state that your Company is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, which includes providing reasonable accommodations where appropriate. Your Company also needs to confirm in writing that it will employ only United States citizens or immigrants who are authorized to work in the United States and will not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of citizenship or national origin.

The Employee Handbook also needs to contain written standards on harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

Non-Harassment & Anti-Discrimination Policy

The Employee Handbook needs to provide a non-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. Your Company must include language that confirms that it is committed to providing a positive work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. It needs to maintain a strict policy prohibiting unlawful harassment in any form, including verbal, physical, and visual harassment. The company needs to require that all employees report all incidents which violate company policy regardless of who the offender may be. The harassment policy needs to apply not only to the workplace during normal business hours, but also to all work-related and social functions, social media venues, and cell phones even if such activities are conducted off duty.

The following needs to be strictly prohibited by the company: actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual’s sex, race, age, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, military status, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristics that will not be tolerated.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct that is demeaning to another person, undermines the integrity of the employment relationship, and is strictly prohibited. Examples of harassment can include the following:

1) repeated unwelcome flirtations or advances or unwanted sexual comments;

2) racial slurs;

3) display or distribution of sexually suggestive objects, pictures or written materials;

4) religious or sexual jokes;

5) unwelcome physical contact or touching; and

6) pressures for sexual favors.

The Employee Handbook needs to include a statement that the Company will investigate all incidents reported by an employee and it will take any action it deems appropriate after evaluating all of the circumstances.

The policy needs to state the method and outline in detail how an employee reports the Complaint and how the Company will investigate the formal Complaint.


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