As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, it’s important that your business has a thorough employee handbook that addresses everything from federal and state law to standardized business practices. By creating one of these handbooks, you can protect yourself from allegations that you’ve failed to abide by the law, that you’ve neglected to inform employees of their rights under the law, and that you’ve treated employees unfairly.
A lot of business owners breathe a sigh of relief once they’ve created their employee handbook, as it’s oftentimes a massive undertaking. While it’s good to have created a finalized first draft of this document, you can’t let the matter end there. After all, things change, and so should your employee handbook.
When do you need to modify your employee handbook?
There are a lot of events that might trigger the need for your employee handbook to be modified. In order to identify them, though, you’ll always need to be aware of how the changes happening around you may be tied to the guidance that’s given by your handbook. Here are some of the triggering events that should drive you to reconsider your employee handbook:
- Changes to the law: When the law changes, your employee handbook can quickly become outdated, thereby providing wrong information and guidance. If you don’t quickly modify your handbook to conform to changes in the law, then you could find yourself in hot water when legal issues arise.
- Disputes arise from issues that aren’t addressed in your handbook: As you create your employee handbook, you should think through every possible issue that could come up so that you have a policy that directly addresses it. But it’s going to be hard to foresee everything, and at some point you’re probably going to be accused of doing something wrong that isn’t addressed by the policies in your employee handbook. Once these issues arise, you should be sure to quickly add them to your employee handbook so that everyone is on the same page as far as how these matters will be handled moving forward.
- Changes to business structure: If your business is growing, then your operations might change in a way that disallows it from conforming to your existing policies. When this happens, you may need to rewrite or otherwise modify your employee handbook to provide clarity and avoid unintentionally exposing yourself to liability.
- Implementation of new technologies: Your existing employee handbook probably has policies on technology use. But as time goes on, there might be new technology implemented into your business practices to help you attain your goals. When that technology is new and different, you might want to think about creating new policies that directly address it.
There very well may be other issues that come up that spur you to revisit your employee handbook. But even if nothing glaring comes up, you should take a look at your handbook on a yearly basis just to make sure that its policies are still clear, applicable, and legally protecting of your business.
Protecting your business from all angles
Of course, an employee handbook isn’t a contract. That said, it can provide you and your business with a significant amount of protection. However, a well thought out employee handbook is just one way to go about shielding your business from legal issues that can rock it to its core. If you want to wrap yourself and your business in protection, then you need to know about everything you can do to shield yourself and your business from liability.
A law firm that’s experienced in employment and business law can help you do that, as they are well versed in looking at business and employment issues from all angles and taking the best course of action possible under the circumstances. So, if you’d like to learn more about what you can do for your business, then now might be the best time to research which sort of law firm is right for you and your business.