Although there is no legal requirement, most companies have “employee handbooks” that set out their policies and procedures. Indeed, employee handbooks can serve an important purpose by letting employees know what to expect of the company they work for and what the company expects from them.

And while an employee handbook can be helpful in protecting a company from potential legal liability, it can also create unintentional contractual obligations for an employer if it is not worded carefully.

Challenges to alleged contractual obligations typically are governed by state law, and the legal standards applied can vary widely depending on the state. For nationwide employers, these state law variances can create challenges where the objective is to implement one universal employee handbook company-wide.

This guide provides a general overview of the provisions that are typically included in employee handbooks, and outlines legal issues that can arise in connection with employee handbook language. We also include some practical pointers for avoiding the most common handbook errors committed by employers.

Please note that this guide is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Legal issues that may arise with respect to the use of employee handbooks should be directed to legal counsel.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.