Finding out that your company is the focus of a lawsuit can cause uncertainty and angst. You may find yourself questioning if you did everything right to effectively prove your company’s innocence despite the claims of a disgruntled, former employee.
Preventing this type of situation from happening at all requires proactive planning. Implementing an employee handbook can provide instrumental reinforcement in your efforts to protect your business from lawsuits.
What to include
The content of your handbook should reflect your expectations, as well as provide your employees with a description of what they can expect from you. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, your handbook should provide information about topics such as the following:
- Policies for background checks and conduct
- A statement about equal employment
- Contractual obligations for an employment relationship
- Policies regarding religion, disability and medical leave
- Employee acknowledgment forms
- Nondiscrimination policies
How to use it
From the onset of hiring a new employee, you can reference the handbook and encourage candidates to fully read its contents. Throughout employment, and especially if discipline occurs, reference the policies within the handbook to reiterate your company’s position on specific topics.
The policies you implement should follow federal requirements to protect you from costly legal action. Periodically review the handbook contents and look for ways to improve its effectiveness. Keep in mind that it may need updates over time to maintain its function. If a lawsuit does come your way, having a well-written handbook in place and evidence that your former employee both read and understood its contents can provide substantial support as you prepare your case.