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Clear cut policies can help prevent employment disputes

Business owners and managers know the importance of maintaining well-defined expectations for everyone in the workplace. Each member of your company’s team from the executive office and management level to the members of staff and contract employees should understand expectations of conduct within the workplace from the get go.

One simplified way to ensure everyone within your company understands workplace expectations is to define them in hard copy from the beginning of employment. An employee and/or company handbook provides a business with the opportunity to clearly state policies and refer back in case of future disputes.

For Texas business owners, it may be in your best interest to establish and maintain a set of guidelines for use by all members of your business. A handbook can include any number of elements, but most can fit into three broad categories: employer expectations, employee expectations and administrative issues.

Employer expectations

This set of policies includes anything you, as an employer, expect from those working in the company. A handbook may begin with an introduction to the company, followed by hours of operation, employee work hour expectations and policies regarding conduct.

If your company does not currently use a handbook, consider discussing the major areas of concern with members of staff and using those as a guidepost for drafting a set of policies.

Employee expectations

This section lays out what employees can expect while working for the business. What will they earn? What are their hours? Are they entitled to benefits and what would a benefits package look like?

Additionally, a handbook can address civility and safety rules for employees. This may include privacy and harassment policies, instructions on how to file or discuss grievances and expectations for conduct while in the workplace or interacting with coworkers.

Administrative issues

It’s important to recognize that no handbook can effectively address every potential issue within a workplace environment. Providing a disclaimer about how the business may handle additional issues provides a safeguard against potential future workplace disputes.

If your business does not currently utilize an employee or company handbook, you may benefit from drafting one in accordance with state and federal labor laws. As the business and industry continues to change, update policies to fit with the continuing future of your business and its ventures.

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