By:  Jonathan Driggs, Attorney at Law
Last month I discussed when and why a small employer would want to create an employee handbook.  Let’s now take a look at how to get started creating a handbook and some important tips employers should follow when creating them.

First of all, where does an employer get the material or template to use for their handbook?  I’ve seen many different approaches, each with their own pros and cons.  They include: writing it yourself from scratch, modifying a pre-existing handbook created by another employer, using a commercial employee handbook software program, and having an attorney draft a handbook (or any combination of the above).  There is no perfect solution, but keep the following in mind:

Whatever approach you use, keep the following guidelines in mind when creating employee handbooks:

Finally, at the risk of sounding self-serving, I strongly recommend that you have a qualified employment law attorney review your handbook before issuing it to employees. There are many competent employment law attorneys along the Wasatch Front to choose from, but whomever you choose should be experienced in employment law (not just a general practitioner) in order to provide a worthwhile review.  Employee handbooks create many legal ramifications which may not be evident to the untrained eye.  If litigation were to occur, the contents of your handbook may become a focal point.  A handbook that has not been reviewed by competent legal counsel is an unfinished handbook—one that may ultimately create more risk than benefit for the employer.

This article should not be construed as legal advice.  Copyright ©2012 by Jonathan K. Driggs, Attorney at Law, P.C.  All rights reserved.

Jonathan K. Driggs is an employment law attorney with over 18 years of experience, including 3 years with the Utah Labor Commission.


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