Many employers overlook the importance of a well-written employee handbook. Similarly, not enough employees take the time to read their employee handbooks to fully understand their employer’s policies. These oversights can create issues for employers and employees alike.
An employee handbook is one of the first places an attorney will begin their evaluation when reviewing a potential employment claim. This is true for claims related to discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and wage and hour violations. Attorneys begin their investigation with the employee handbook because it should detail most, if not all, of the employer’s policies for their employees. These policies can impact legal claims, and even create claims for policies that are in violation of the law.
For example, in Michigan, employers are required to pay employees accrued paid time off if their employee handbook has such a policy. If an employer fails to make that payment, they have violated the law and their own policy. Thus, they may be subjected to litigation.
Further, if an employee alleges a class-based claim for failure to pay wages in a proper manner, a poorly written policy that is in violation of the law can be proof of the employer’s violation and liability.
For employees, the employee handbook should answer many questions about the ins and outs of the position. A well-written employee handbook will detail policies such as how to handle workplace issues/concerns, expectations for the positions, and general policy regarding anti-discrimination and sexual harassment.
Additionally, many Michigan employee handbooks contain provisions such as an arbitration clause, details on an employee’s statute of limitations for claims, and even non-competition agreements. Many employees sign the employee handbook acknowledgment without reviewing these terms and, thus, fail to understand what they are agreeing to.
The attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC provide a multitude of services, from drafting new employee handbooks to reviewing or revising existing employee handbooks, to ensuring agreements between employees and employers are legally sound, and more. If you need legal advice either as an employer or employee, contact us online to book a free consultation with a Michigan attorney.