The best defense is to think ahead. Nobody actually wants to be involved in any kind of business litigation, except maybe us, so the best thing to do to avoid future lawsuits from employees is to create a policy handbook that covers you for as much as possible. In the event that any employee tries to take legal action against you or your business, a thorough employee handbook can provide a strong defense. Here are some tips for building that impenetrable fortress.
- Use lots of disclaimers – Some important ones to include are things like “all employees hired on ‘at will’ basis” and “This handbook is not a contract.” Disclaimers act as the first line of defense. So inserting phrases that specifically say that the employee is “at will” and can be fired at any time for any reason is important.
- Do not use a cookie cutter handbook – No, what works for one does not work for all. It is important that your handbook cater to your business specifically. Cookie cutter handbooks are dangerous because there may be something in there that can be used by an employee trying to sue you or your company.
- Think about how a jury would see it – Keep in mind that the average juror reads at a 4th grade level, and that their decisions directly affect you, and that the handbook is the most common piece of evidence in an employee lawsuit. Use plain English that is easily understood.
- Make sure that your handbook does not conflict with state law – Seems obvious enough, but it can be easy to accidentally include something that goes against state law, and then you’d be left wide open to some serious legal action.
Creating the handbook for a business is extremely important and can be very complicated. It is almost impossible to do without an employment lawyer who has experience and can assist you in creating a titanium clad handbook nobody can loophole through. We can do that for you.
Garland & Mason, L.L.C. – Business Attorneys