Every business with employees should have written documentation stating company policies about employee conduct on the job and detailing benefits and programs offered by the company. Company policies should at a minimum address:
- employee conduct toward employers, other employees, customers, vendors and the public, including harassment and discrimination of all types
- compensation, benefits and insurance
- personal use of company-owned equipment and financial products: computers, phones, vehicles and other equipment, credit cards, checking account, etc.
- attendance and vacation policy
- sick leave/medical leave/maternity leave
- dress code, if applicable
- conflict of interest and non-disclosure agreements, if applicable
- use of controlled substances and/or alcohol on and off the job (including inappropriate use of prescription medications)
- other topics specific to your business
Company policies are usually communicated in the form of one or more employee handbooks that employees read and sign. The handbook/handbooks become part of the employee’s personnel file. Should a problem arise, the business owner can prove the employee was aware of company policies. Don’t just give your employees a copy of the handbook and assume they will read it. Have them read and sign it as part of the hiring process or at a special meeting. (Without a signature, should an issue arise, you can’t prove the employee knew company policies.)
Harassment: Harassment, including sexual harassment, violates Federal civil rights laws. Every business with employees needs a written harassment policy that employees have read and signed. Having one may offer some protection if you are sued. Bullying is a form of harassment and should not be tolerated.
Assistance Resources: For help in creating an employee handbook, see the following resources:
- Idaho State Bar – Look for publication 11-05 “Drafting Your First or Next Employment Contract, Non-compete Agreement and Employee Handbook” under the section “Employment Law.”
- Idaho Human Rights Commission – Sex Discrimination and Understanding Prohibited Practices for federal civil rights laws
- Drug Free Idaho – resources for developing a drug-free workplace policy
- How to Create an Employee Handbook People Will Want to Read
- How to Prevent Discrimination in Your Workplace
- Anti-discrimination and other required posters in English and Spanish
- U.S. Department of Labor Employment Law Guide – Use the guide to develop wage, benefit, safety, health, and nondiscrimination policies that comply with Federal law. The guide is available in Spanish by calling 1-866-4-USA-DOL.
If you would like assistance in creating your employee handbook, contact the business department of your nearest college or university or call your nearest Idaho Small Business Development Center for a referral.