Employee Handbooks & Progressive Discipline Policies

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1. Introduction.

Under the “risk management” approach to human resources management, an employer should set the standards for its policies and practices at a level that it is certain it will enforce uniformly throughout the organization. It is not a good idea to establish a policy or practice that the employer cannot or does not intend to enforce consistently. To determine the likelihood of uniform enforcement, the employer should be able, with proper documentation, to sustain the discharge of an employee for violation of a policy, and should be willing to accept the consequences of the resignation of a good employee over the issue of enforcement of the policy.

Effective communication of employment policies and procedures to employees can best be achieved in writing. Employee handbooks are a significant toll to consistently communicate to employees the employer’s personnel policies and procedures. Employers should also realize that there is no “cookie-cutter” employee handbook. While many employers implement many of the same types of policies, every employee handbook should be carefully drafted to meet the particular needs of the specific employer. Employers should review handbooks frequently to ensure that the policies are up-to-date and include items that may help avoid or minimize various problems.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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