Basic Employee Manuals

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Even the most basic employee manuals must address a number of questions that both experienced workers and newcomers might have. What, for instance, is an employee to do in an emergency such as a fire, flood, or earthquake? What if one worker sees another worker stealing items from the supply closet? What protocol should a worker follow if he or she has grievances against a fellow worker? This is just a small range of the topics you must address.

In recent years, sexual harassment policies have been thrust into the spotlight at offices large and small. It's important that you as the owner or manager follow not only a strict and unwavering policy of your own about sexual impropriety, but that you adhere to any local or state-mandated measures as well. Failure to do so can land you in legal hot water, not only in your claimant's eyes, but in the view of the authorities as well.

Additional Points To Consider

Any basic employee manual should also lay out the terms of employment in your office. Are you a union shop? Do you operate in a state that follows "at will" employment guidelines? If so, what specifically justifies termination, and who may initiate the proceedings? In some cases, workers under contract may be justified in filing wrongful termination suits against you if the terms of their employment aren't clearly outlined.

Additionally, those who work in the manufacturing sector in particular must take certain precautions from which "paper-pushers" are generally exempt. Any plant that stores hazardous materials must keep what are known as materials safety data sheets (MSDS) on hand in case of an emergency. These papers list all the most important information for every chemical solution on the premises, from their cleanup procedures and contamination guidelines to their reactivity data and chemical formulas.

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