Thompson Publishing’s Guide to Employee Handbooks Summarizes Benefits, Legal Protections

Employee handbooks are critical to protect companies from litigation and to provide employees a reference for company policies.

Washington, D.C. — March 15
Employee handbooks are critical to protect companies from litigation and to provide employees a reference for company policies.

Thompson’s new “Five-Minute Guide to Employee Handbooks” makes this daunting task a lot easier.

The Five-Minute Guide shows employers what they need to include — or not include — to create an excellent employee handbook. And employers really can get the basics in about five minutes.

New technologies, threats of litigation and fast-changing societal norms make employee handbooks a critical tool for companies to explain policies and rules of conduct. At the same time, companies need to stay up-to-date with ever-changing legal requirements.

The Five-Minute Guide provides a quick self-audit, where companies can evaluate their existing handbooks to see if they need a new one.

For example, does their handbook clearly delineate sexual harassment policies or equal employment opportunities that comply with state and federal laws? Are time off and leave-of-absence policies legally compliant? Is the handbook an effective reference tool for employees written to reduce questions about company policies to human resource personnel?

“We’ve found that many companies fail to regularly update their handbooks to be current with workforce expectations or legal requirements,” said Phil Gabel, Thompson Publishing Group president and chief executive officer. “For example, new technologies like YouTube and blogging can create real headaches for companies if they aren’t addressed directly and upfront.

“Employees, particularly those who have grown up with the Internet, make a lot of assumptions about how much access and freedom they have in regards to electronic media.”

An update-to-date, clear and concise handbook can alleviate most questions about issues such as blogging and help avoid legal issues or difficult personnel choices, Gabel said.

Thompson’s Five-Minute Guide reviews the perennial and hot-button issues a company must consider when drafting a handbook. It then gives an introduction to Thompson’s online handbook builder, which incorporates all the principles and advice in the Five-Minute Guide.

Thompson’s Employee Handbook Builder is a fully Web-based application that allows employers to create a legally compliance handbook.

Developed in conjunction with Jackson-Lewis, a law firm representing management, Thompson’s handbook builder also provides subscribers with notification when laws change, to keep their handbooks current.

The Handbook Builder is the only product on the market that provides in-depth analysis of both federal and state regulations in a convenient online interview — without the expense for additional forms or extra modules.

Notes are provided in useful “Explain This to Me” pages that contain insights on how and when a particular provision may apply or legal pitfalls to avoid.

The program’s simple, jargon-free online interview format enables customers to fully customize their handbooks in about an hour. Or they can log out and finish creating or editing handbooks at any time.

The Employee Handbook Builder allows employees to access employee handbooks through a password-protected Web site, saving companies considerable investment and time for new printings and distribution when changes occur.