Protect Your Business With An Employee Handbook

Employee handbooks are a vital component of preventing a hostile work environment. Because that term is used liberally, we need to define what constitutes one. When one (or several) of your employees engage in inappropriate behavior, they can effectively inhibit someone else from doing their job. This pertains to illegal discrimination against a protected classification (e.g., race, religion, gender). 

As a business owner, you can prevent your employees from acting this way and stop it. Your employees need a safe place to work, and you cannot foster or enable a hostile work environment because it leads to litigation. If an employee faces harassment, they should report it through the appropriate channels. Employee handbooks can outline what these channels are—and they spell out what steps you and the company will do to rectify the situation. 

State Your Policies

Business owners can leverage employee handbooks to establish values and build a culture. They can also declare the company’s stance against any behavior that would create a hostile work environment. Though it does offer you some protection, it also gives your employees something to reference if something makes them feel uncomfortable or discriminated against. You can also answer the following:

  • What constitutes inappropriate behavior?
  • How do I report it?
  • Where does the report go?
  • What can the employee expect the company to do in response?

Use It

Your employee handbook can answer every question above, outline your adherence to all applicable state and federal laws, and still be ineffective. You have to disseminate it, use it, and follow it. For instance, imagine that your employee informs you that they have been summoned for jury duty. In Florida, you will be required to pay your employee their wages for the first three days of jury duty. However, your company may decide to extend that out longer.

No one expects you to have these policies memorized—and that’s all the better. Because when you don’t have an answer, it forces you to reference the handbook and implement the policy. When your employee informs you that they have been subjected to harassment, you have a resource and a system in place to help you and them. 

Cueto Law Group, P.L. 

The employment law attorneys at the Cueto Law Group have extensive experience in evaluating your existing policies and procedures to ensure they comply with state and federal laws. Contact us to schedule a consultation for more information about how the Cueto Law Group can help with liability issues.