Protect your workplace with these 3 important documents
Read on for information on 3 key employment documents that can protect your organization.
An employee handbook provides guidelines for the employee-employer relationship. These handbooks might, in some cases, contain a number of rules. They are not, however, intended to perform as ‘rule books’. Instead, employee handbooks set out the company expectations for its employees.
In some cases, handbooks can be used to support employers when combating civil liability cases. If a grievance reporting policy is outlined in a handbook and enforced, it can defend a business against certain harassment claims. Indeed, in the era of the ‘Me Too’ movement, workplace relations are under intense scrutiny and documents such as this are of increasing importance.
Although many employers provide handbooks, these documents often lapse in legality or fail to reflect the realities of the given workplace. It is vital that organizations perform timely review and amendment of their handbooks, ensuring they avoid any pitfalls. In some extreme instances, failure to update a handbook could lead to legal violations, with company policy creating illegal situations. For instance, sickness policies could become outdated as mandates around paid leave are modernized. Rules on drug testing, and the Defend Trade Secrets Act are just two other examples of areas in which businesses must keep pace with the law.
More than ever before, data drives business. Informing decision-making at all levels, data is a highly valuable commodity. Information security, as a result, is paramount. Employers face a significant challenge as modern society becomes ever-more mobile. As old employees leave, employers risk losing confidential data, relationships and secrets. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) protect employers when faced with such challenges. The extent to which these NDAs are enforceable, however — in particular in terms of restrictive covenants such as ‘non-competes’ and ‘non-solicitations’ — are largely dependent on the industry and the state of operation.
Although there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, a carefully-curated NDA that obeys the law and is realistic for the firm, can protect a business from losing valuable relationships and data.
To speed up the litigation process and save money, many firms engage in arbitration. In terms of financial loss, class or collective action lawsuits pose the greatest risk. If a firm is able to carefully compile an arbitration agreement that waives the right to a class action, it can protect itself from a lawsuit with multiple plaintiffs. Arbitration can, in many cases, save a firm time and money, avoiding the formalities of federal and state proceedings.
Ideally, a business will introduce these documents when it welcomes new employees. However, they should all be reviewed regularly, and amended to reflect changes in the legal and commercial climate. Although employers cannot completely protect themselves from harm, these documents all provide valuable proactive and preventative measures.