Labor: Staying sharp with regular handbook review

A well-drafted, updated employment handbook is beneficial to companies and employees alike

Everyone wants to know the rules. Whether the arena is a grade school playground or the Supreme Court, the participants in any activity are more comfortable when expectations are clearly defined. It is not nearly as important that the rules be reasonable as that they be established in advance. As long as expectations are well-known and consistently applied, human beings are generally willing to adapt to them. Even if those rules prove detrimental to one’s position, griping, whining and complaining is not as common when participants know and understand the rules before engaging in the activity.

The American workplace proves this theory. Although there is no federal law that requires a private employer to provide handbooks to its employees, the happiest employees are those who know what is expected and believe their employers are consistently applying procedures that were established before the employment relationship began. An effective employee handbook communicates the employer's expectations and the consequences for failure to meet them. It demonstrates an employer's commitment to compliance with the law. Most importantly, it delivers simple answers to common questions and provides employees with a mechanism to resolve the inevitable issues that arise.

Contributing Author

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Bryance Metheny

Bryance Metheny is a partner and employment attorney with Burr & Forman LLP (Birmingham, Ala.). He represents employers and managers in all aspects of labor...

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