Startups and the Importance of an Employment Handbook

Startup’s Employment Handbook

Startups generally have few employees during the early stages of its existence. As a result, many startups may find it to be unnecessary to have —and regularly maintain— an employment handbook. Though startups may find it easier and adequate to have more informal discussions of company policies, it is often advisable to develop and distribute an official employment handbook.  An employment handbook not only establishes the expected practices and policies for the business, but will also outline what process should take place if an employee-related dispute arises.  The Silicon Valley business attorneys at Startup Company Counsel can help a startup draft a new or edit an existing employment handbook that will carefully outline the startups’ goals and expectations.

Employment Handbooks Set Uniform Policies for All Employees

Startup companies attract employees for a variety of reasons. Employees are attracted to an atmosphere and workplace that is casual and friendly. However, certain employees may take advantage of this type of atmosphere to the detriment of other employees and to the startup. For example, a startup fails to publish a clear and formal policy in regard to absenteeism or tardiness, employees may try to push the boundaries by missing work or showing up late on a regular basis. Having an employment handbook with clear policies informs employees of the startup’s expectations from the outset. As a result, employees may be less likely to take advantage of the startups’ casual and friendly work environment.

Employment Handbooks Help Startups Avoid Employee Miscommunication & Legal Disputes

Startup businesses with few employees are more likely to have a clear and open line of communication among its hierarchy. But, problems can still exist in this situation. A startup’s failure to publish developed, uniform policies can lead to employee miscommunication. Miscommunication can lead to employees believing that a culture of unfairness and unequal treatment exists within the startup. This could potentially lead aggrieved employees to either leave, disparage, or sue the startup. If not addressed immediately, miscommunications can become a large problem for the startup. An employment handbook, however, puts the startup’s policies in clear writing. When every employee reads the same policy, the startup reduces the possibility of misunderstanding and miscommunications.

In addition to miscommunication, startups that are without defined and published policies in an employment handbook may find themselves accused of unlawful employment practices such as discrimination, retaliation, or wrongful termination by a disgruntled employee. A startup’s employment handbook is designed to serve as evidence of uniform and fair policies of which the employee was aware and to which he or she agreed. For example, an employment handbook can also demonstrate that your startup had anti-discrimination and harassment policies in place to protect employees from such unlawful actions.

Contact a Silicon Valley Business Attorney for Your Startup’s Employment Handbook

Employment handbooks both formally welcome employees to the company and provide published, uniform policies by which employees are expected to act and how employees can expect to be treated. When properly drafted, employment handbooks can help prevent potential litigation. The knowledgeable business attorneys at Startup Company Counsel can work with your startup to develop an employment handbook that bests suits your startup’s needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Silicon Valley business lawyers by calling our office at 408-441-7555.

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