Employee Handbook Implementation – Suggested Tips

Volume: 22 | Issue: 50
November 21, 2023

Employee handbooks serve as crucial guides for both employers and employees, outlining company policies, expectations, and other essential information. Many employers invest considerable time developing handbooks and keeping them updated. However, if your employees do not take the time to review the handbook, these communication efforts are less effective.    

At our recent “Lunch with a Lawyer” webinar on employee handbooks, an attendee asked what the best method is for obtaining an employee’s acknowledgment of receipt of a handbook and related updates. While no one method may be right for every employer, here are some tips to consider:  

Employee Onboarding

Every new employee should be told about the employee handbook and its importance as a reference tool. Rather than just distributing the handbook, you should incorporate elements of your handbook in new hire orientation so that employees understand important employer policies (e.g., anti-discrimination and harassment, etc.) and where to find information they may need regarding their employment (e.g., payroll and benefits, etc.).

Written Acknowledgment

Many employers already know that it is critical to obtain a signed acknowledgment from employees showing they received a copy of the employee handbook and have an obligation to review and comply with its contents. These acknowledgment forms, bearing the employee’s signature, are valuable tools to show an employee’s receipt of and duty to read the handbook. These forms are also a good opportunity for you to reaffirm the at-will nature of the employment relationship, if applicable. Once signed, the document should be kept in each employee’s employment file. These documents can be advantageous in cases of discipline and legal proceedings to demonstrate employees had notice of your policies and rules.

Digital Accessibility

In an era dominated by technology, consider making the employee handbook (and other important employee tools) digitally accessible. This could include developing an intranet, shared computer drive, or other employee access portal for easy access to this information. If you use an electronically-distributed handbook, rest assured that electronic acknowledgments and signatures are acceptable and are given legal effect provided you obtain the employee’s agreement to an electronic record. Nevada’s Electronic Transactions Act (NRS 719.010-719.360) provides that “[i]f a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law.” Determining whether an electronic signature is attributable to your employee will be “based upon the context and surrounding circumstances” including the conduct of the parties and a demonstration of your electronic security procedures.  

KZA attorneys are always available to help you with your handbooks. If you have questions about the content of your handbook, your implementation procedures, or Nevada law on electronic records, please contact us.

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.

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