Employment Handbook

Jump to Section

Need help with an Employment Handbook?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

Do you employ people in the modern era?

The civil rights movement gave way to legislation and rules that protect people from discrimination based on race, religion, age, disability, or gender.

Fortunately, companies sought to achieve greater compliance and employee communication as a result. The employment handbook is an excellent solution for ensuring that you accomplish your human resources objectives.

After all, your employees are by far the most important resource you have.

Before typing up an employment agreement, familiarize yourself with the process. The informative article below addresses everything you need to know.

What is an Employment Handbook?

Employment handbooks are a written code of conduct that informs employees about rules and company culture. They can also function as an employment contract between you and your non-exempt talent. An employment handbook is a right choice when you hire and retain employees.

Purpose of Employment Handbooks

Employment handbooks serve to establish the rules and guidelines that employees must follow when working for your company. It can also help them understand what will happen if they violate any of these guidelines as well. A thorough, straightforward employment handbook can help you communicate these terms clearly.

The main purpose of employments handbooks includes:

  1. Protect employee’s federally protected rights
  2. Reduce the number of human resources inquiries made
  3. Encourage compliance among managerial staff members
  4. Offer a document that documents your company’s values
  5. Protect your rights as an employer

If you employ people, then you must draft, review, and distribute an employment handbook. However, you should familiarize yourself with the critical components so that you achieve the best possible result. Otherwise, you risk leaving out key provisions that make your document less powerful.

What’s Included in an Employment Handbook

Employment handbooks look different for every company. Some companies choose to use a shorter, less explanatory document, while others will specify as many details as possible. Each option has distinct advantages, meaning you should speak with employment lawyers to analyze your situation.

These are some sections included in an employment handbook:

  • Section 1. Nondiscrimination policy
  • Section 2. Communication policy
  • Section 3. Compensation and benefits policy for new hires
  • Section 4. Separation policy
  • Section 5. Dress code provisions
  • Section 6. Code of ethics policy
  • Section 7. Workplace safety guidelines
  • Section 8. Attendance policy
  • Section 9. Acceptable use policy
  • Section 10. Employee termination policy

The sections that you choose to include will depend upon your company specifically. For instance, you may offer a work environment that doesn’t enforce a dress code, which would nullify the need to include it in your employment handbook. Deploy a tried and true legal process when it comes to creating your employment handbooks.

Click here to learn about a Code of Ethics .

How To Create an Employment Handbook

It can be overwhelming to tackle the project of creating an employment handbook. There are several details to remember, which means there’s a prime opportunity to inadvertently omit essential information. Following a step-by-step checklist will help.

Here’s how to create an employment handbook:

Step 1. Decide How You Want to Start

Many companies already have an existing employment handbook that they use. In this case, you have the opportunity to review and revise the current language and design, but you could also decide to start fresh. New companies will need to start their employment handbooks from scratch.

Step 2. Draft an Employment Handbook Outline

Based on the sections that you want to address in your employment handbook, start with an outline. Take each distinct section and break it down into smaller subsections.

You will also need to consider how laws affect employment relationships, including:

If you choose to not address these laws in your employment handbook, it could result in employee confusion or non-compliance issues. Ensure that you address them in your employment handbooks.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Octavia P.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Blake L.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Namrita N.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Richard N.

31 projects on CC
View Profile

Step 3. Summarize Your Policies

Your outline now serves as a basis by which you summarize each of your policies and procedures. Your employment handbook should use simple, straightforward language that doesn’t violate an employee’s civil rights. Take care to emphasize the most essential provisions through an intelligent design approach.

Ensure that you go into detail when it comes to employee rights and obligations, including:

  • Eligibility for benefits
  • Wage payments
  • Paid overtime rules
  • Paid time off (PTO) rules
  • Vacation pay rules
  • Dress code
  • Medical leave rules

Employees tend to refer to these rules more than others. By covering them comprehensively, you could effectively reduce the number of inquiries into your human resources department.

Step 4. Review Your Employment Handbook

Once you’ve drafted and summarized each section, your next step is compiling them into a single document. Incorporate any notes and changes as directed by crucial company leaders. Produce the first draft to share with your team for a final review, and take notes of any questions or additional changes.

ContractsCounsel Employment Handbook Image

Image via Pexels by Craig Adderly

Step 5. Contact Employment Lawyers for a Final Review

Employment lawyers will review your employment handbook for enforceability and compliance. This step is critical, which means that you should not skip it. Keep in mind that disgruntled employees can use your employment handbook as evidence against you in a legal claim.

Your employment lawyers will take the time to determine what risk you are taking by leaving the document as-is and what improvements you can make to ensure that you remain protected. Always follow through on your lawyer’s recommendations based on statutory guidelines.

Step 6. Print or Publish Your Employment Handbook

After finalizing your employment handbook with employment lawyers, it is time to publish or print your employment handbook. Many companies today favor electronic delivery since it saves a tremendous amount of money on printing costs. In today’s world, a digital format makes the most sense, but it is also nice to receive a handbook if you can afford it.

Step 7. Distribute Employment Handbooks to Employees

The next step is to distribute the employment handbooks to your employees. Make an announcement about the distribution regarding where they can locate digital copies or receive physical ones. You should also post your employment handbooks on company intranets to which employees have routine access.

Step 8. Update As Needed

Get your managerial team on the same page when it comes to updating your employee handbooks. Consider an idea bank or repository where notes can be made and stored until it is time to update the employment handbook, as necessary. Following through on updates is essential to managerial participation in updating employment handbooks.

Getting Help with an Employment Handbook

Getting help with an employment handbook starts by working with experienced employment lawyers. Your employment handbook can be a blessing or a curse. Hire employment lawyers to ensure that they actually help your company save time and potentially money from future disputes.

Employment handbooks reflect the company’s internal values and can make or break employee engagement for new hires. Get them excited and geared up about working for your organization by clearly stating your purpose and letting employees know how they fit into the bigger picture of your business. Employment lawyers will protect your rights and help you achieve a favorable outcome.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Employment Handbook Lawyers

ContractsCounsel verified
Founder, Branch Legal LLC
9 years practicing
Free Consultation

Legal services cost too much, and are often of low quality. I have devoted my law practice to providing the best work at the most affordable price—in everything from defending small businesses against patent trolls to advising multinational corporations on regulatory compliance to steering couples through a divorce.

ContractsCounsel verified
Attorney
3 years practicing
Free Consultation

I am a licensed attorney and a member of the California Bar. I graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law's Program in Law and Technology. I love IP, tech transfers, licensing, and how the internet and developing technology is changing the legal landscape. I've interned at both corporations and boutique firms, and I've taken extensive specialized classes in intellectual property and technology law.

ContractsCounsel verified
Partner
25 years practicing
Free Consultation

Jo Ann has been practicing for over 20 years, working primarily with high growth companies from inception through exit and all points in between. She is skilled in Mergers & Acquisitions, Contractual Agreements (including founders agreements, voting agreements, licensing agreements, terms of service, privacy policies, stockholder agreements, operating agreements, equity incentive plans, employment agreements, vendor agreements and other commercial agreements), Corporate Governance and Due Diligence.

ContractsCounsel verified
Attorney and Contract Guru
16 years practicing
Free Consultation

I am an unabashed contract law geek with a passion for delivering contracts that protect your business within your risk tolerance. Contracts should be clear, concise, and able to be understood by the end user. I promote Plain English contract drafting. I also pay close attention to the boilerplate traps that trip up many agreements. Some of my most frequent drafting projects are entity operating and shareholder agreements, bylaws, asset purchase agreements, commercial leases, EULA, Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, Confidentiality agreements, employment agreements, and more.

ContractsCounsel verified
Self-Employed Legal Consultant
7 years practicing
Free Consultation

I hold a B.S. in Accounting and a B.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Tech (2009). I received my J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2012. I am an associate member of the Virginia Bar and an active member of the DC bar. Currently, I am working as a self-employed legal consultant and attorney. Primarily my clients are start-up companies for which I perform various types of legal work, including negotiating and drafting settlement, preparing operating agreements and partnership agreements, assisting in moving companies to incorporate in new states and setting up companies to become registered in a state, assisting with employment matters, drafting non-disclosure agreements, assisting with private placement offerings, and researching issues on intellectual property, local regulations, privacy laws, corporate governance, and many other facets of the law, as the need arises. I have previously practiced as an attorney at a small DC securities law firm and worked at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLC. My work experience is dynamic and includes many short-term and long term experience that span across areas such as maintaining my own blog, freelance writing, and dog walking. My diverse background has provided me with a stong skill set that can be easily adapted for new areas of work and indicates my ability to quickly learn for a wide array of clients.

ContractsCounsel verified
Attorney at law
20 years practicing
Free Consultation

Texas licensed attorney specializing for 20 years in Business and Contract law. My services include General Business Law Advisement; Contract Review and Drafting; Legal Research and Writing, including Motion Practice; Business Formation; Article or Instructive Writing; and more. For more insight into my skills and experience, please feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile or contact me with any questions.

ContractsCounsel verified
Partner / Attorney at Law
13 years practicing
Free Consultation

Creative, results driven business & technology executive with 24 years of experience (13+ as a business/corporate lawyer). A problem solver with a passion for business, technology, and law. I bring a thorough understanding of the intersection of the law and business needs to any endeavor, having founded multiple startups myself with successful exits. I provide professional business and legal consulting. Throughout my career I've represented a number large corporations (including some of the top Fortune 500 companies) but the vast majority of my clients these days are startups and small businesses. Having represented hundreds of successful crowdfunded startups, I'm one of the most well known attorneys for startups seeking CF funds. My engagements often include legal consultation & advisory roles, drafting of NDAs, TOS & Privacy Policies, contracts and corporate law, business strategy advice & consulting, in-house counsel, Founder & entrepreneur guidance and other roles as needed by my clients. I hold a Juris Doctor degree with a focus on Business/Corporate Law, a Master of Business Administration degree in Entrepreneurship, A Master of Education degree and dual Bachelor of Science degrees. I look forward to working with any parties that have a need for my skill sets.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call