How an Employee Handbook Is Essential to Avoiding Future Litigation

Legal Tips and Resources

Hiring and retaining employees is an integral function of many businesses and can be very often essential to their success. From the perspective of employer, employees, while essential, are also a source of legal liability. This liability can come from third parties as a result of the conduct of an employee that caused injury or loss or even from the employees themselves if they allege a violation of state or federal employment law.

A well-written and clear employee handbook is an excellent way to limit an employer’s potential legal liability. Companies who are developing their employee handbook could benefit by having a business litigation attorney work with them in the development to ensure that all employment and other laws are being adhered to. Some of the ways a handbook can achieve this are detailed below.

What Topics Should Be Addressed by an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook should clearly address your workplace policies. Some of the issues that should be covered by the handbook include the following:

  • Alcohol and substance policies
  • Anti-harassment policies
  • Attendance requirements
  • Code of conduct
  • Compensation
  • Discipline
  • Dress code
  • Email and other computer policies
  • Employee benefits
  • Employee safety
  • Grievance policies
  • Hours
  • Overtime policies

How Does a Handbook Limit Legal Liability?

By clearly communicating your workplace policies and expectations, you can encourage employees to refrain from behavior that may result in a lawsuit. The protections offered by an employee handbook go far beyond suggesting good behavior. For example, an employer that is being sued for harassment may be able to argue that it had a comprehensive harassment policy and appropriately responded to any allegations of legally prohibited conduct. In addition, by addressing how employees who violate workplace policies are disciplined, an employer can prevent lawsuits that allege that an employee was unfairly treated if the employer can establish that it followed its policies and has applied them consistently.

Does an Employer Need the Assistance of a Business Attorney to Create an Effective Employee Handbook?

Many employers, especially those just starting out, may be hesitant to spend the money to hire a business attorney to assist with the creation of an employee handbook. The Internet has made it relatively easy to download standard document templates and using them may seem like the most cost-effective solution. In reality, doing so may result in significant and unnecessary legal liability, perhaps well into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in the event of a lawsuit.

By engaging an experienced business attorney well-versed in employment law to assist in creating an employee handbook unique to your business and its needs, you can rest assured that you have addressed the issues that you should in order to minimize your liability. In addition, should an incident occur or an issue arise, you will already have formed a relationship with an attorney familiar with your business and its policies.

Call A Lawyer for Assistance

Employers should always consult with a business lawyer Melbourne, FL residents rely on regarding their employment policies to ensure that they are limiting their legal liability as much as possible. To schedule a consultation with a skilled business litigation attorney, call our office today.


Thank you to our friends and contributors at Arcadier & Associates for their insight into business law.