Do You Really Need An Employment Policy Manual?

Running a business without an employment policy manual is like driving a car without insurance. You may get very lucky and not have an accident, but if you do you are very glad you have insurance.

Human beings are very predictable in most cases. When everything is going well everyone is happy and everyone proclaims they would never do anything to hurt another member of the team. However, when things don’t go right and someone thinks they have been treated unfairly the claws come out and law suits flourish!

If you think I am wrong just think about all the divorces that take place. Almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Not only do they end they end with someone that once proclaimed they loved the other one accusing them of everything from child abuse to being gay. They will both say things that will try and hurt the other one as much as possible, even though at the marriage alter they proclaimed for better or worse and till death do they part.

Having an employment policy ensures that at least you have established the rules and provided you enforce them fairly and consistently you stand a better chance of not creating a circus if an employee becomes disgruntled.

An employment policy manual should contain information on what your company policy is on attendance, sexual harassment, discrimination, violence, theft, use of company property, use of cell phones, breaks, vacation and sick leave, annual performance reviews, progressive discipline process, and any other subjects that pertains to employment.

Some examples of how an attendance policy can help would be for tardiness. Establishing that tardiness is anytime an employee is not ready and able to begin their shift. Typically there is no grace period for tardiness; however, you may want to allow someone (just an example) three unscheduled tardy periods prior to taking action. That is established in your policy. I use the term unscheduled versus unapproved since someone may call in a few minutes prior their shift beginning to inform you that they are going to be late. This would be considered unscheduled even if you tell them alright.

Having a policy on topics such as sexual harassment or discrimination could help considerably if you are ever faced with an EEOC claim. Of course the key is to make sure that you are administering your policy fairly and consistently. Fairly should go without saying but in other words you are not holding some people accountable and others you are not. Consistently is similar to that accept that you hold everyone accountable for a couple of months then let it fall to the wayside as time passes.

The other important piece of having an employment policy manual is that certain federal and states require that you inform your employees of certain things like, what they should do if they are sexually harassed. Not providing information on topics like this could cost you a lot if legally challenged in a court of law. Remember that most juries side with the employee! For some reason they think that every business has deep pockets.

May God Bless You!

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