An employee handbook is just an employee handbook…or so you may think. But, what happens when it doesn’t have an appropriate “disclaimer?”
Incorporate a Disclaimer
In addition to smart employment policies, all nonprofit entities should develop an employee handbook as a part of the onboarding/training process for all employees. The handbook, like other employment policies, serve the purpose of capturing the values you wish to instill in your workforce, outline the standards of behavior you expect, and provide a clear guide for rights and responsibilities.
That said, an employee handbook can actually be considered an employment contract if you’re not careful. And, to best set out the parameters of the employment relationship, it’s best if the handbook and contract are two different documents.
If you think about it, an employee handbook has all the elements of a contract—it’s written, it’s specific, it “promises” certain things will (or won’t) happen. It’s even “signed” by the nonprofit/company.
An employee handbook could actually be considered a unilateral employment contract unless the employer includes an appropriate disclaimer, with wording like this:
“The policies, procedures and standard practices described in this manual are not conditions of employment. This manual does not create an express or implied contract between the Nonprofit/Company and employees. Nonprofit/Company reserves the right to terminate any employee, at any time, with or without notice or procedure, for any reason deemed by the Nonprofit/Company to be in the best interests of the Nonprofit/Company.”
Free Employee Handbook Sample
To make all of this more salient, I’ve compiled a free Employee Handbook guide that you can use as a sample guide to better understand how a handbook and a contract or agreement differ.
There are many reasons why an employee handbook should be just that and not also serve as an employment contract. I would be happy to review the employment documents you currently have in place or outline what documents your nonprofit needs, to ensure you have the best possible foundation for legal compliance. Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call (515-371-6077) and we’ll get your free (no-obligation) one-hour consultation scheduled.