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The employee handbook: a key document for many companies

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2021 | Employment Litigation

Company principals at the helm of enterprises in Denver and spanning Colorado and the rest of the country understandably view employer-worker interactions as top-tier business concerns.

Indeed, the interplay between management and its labor force is a central factor in defining American work environments. Moreover, employment law matters are key determinants in molding workplace expectations, as well as playing important roles in productivity, reciprocal expectation, dispute-linked outcomes and more.

One Denver legal source addressing the employment law sphere prominently notes that. It states that, “Any business with employees must manage interpersonal relationships, internal policies and the law in order to do the work they set out to do.”

Core legal issues that commonly concern many employers

Virtually any Colorado business owner scanning the header immediately above can quickly tick off a varied and lengthy list of employee-focused concerns. The aforementioned legal overview underscores some key company focal points, which include issues like these:

  • Wage and hour matters
  • Dispute-resolution procedures
  • Compliance with labor-linked federal, state and local laws
  • Discrimination and/or harassment allegations
  • Employee benefits
  • Safety protocols and company training
  • Employee evaluations (e.g, reviews and promotions)

What can an employer do to proactively and in good faith address those and additional matters in a way that sufficiently informs workers and provides a protective shield against potential liability issues?

Spotlighting the employee handbook: a key communication tool

The business-focused group Society for Human Resource Management points to employee handbooks as centrally important resources for conveying company values/policies and safeguarding enterprises from unwelcome disputes with workers.

The SHRM emphasizes what a handbook is not, namely, a binding contract between workers and management. Notwithstanding that, though, the society underscores its importance as “an easily accessible guide to a company’s policies and practices as well as an overview of the expectations of management.”

When carefully crafted and duly acknowledged in writing by employees, a handbook can go far toward serving as a company-protective tool cited in response to a workplace complaint or filed lawsuit.

Creating a quality and truly useful handbook is no casual task. The SHRM stresses management’s need to initially spend the requisite time and effort necessary to develop a comprehensive outline of key topics to include. Subsequent drafting must walk a careful line between being overly broad and onerously restrictive.

That identification and follow-up balancing act invites the timely, on-point and profession input of a proven employment law team.

It is imperative, notes the society, that experienced legal counsel plays a key role in both creating and periodically updating an employee handbook.