California HR

Handbooks Help Is Here!

Yesterday, we discussed two of the big employee handbooks mistakes employers tend to make, according to attorney Elaina Smiley. Today, a look at the final mistake she sees too often, and an introduction to a valuable handbook drafting tool — specifically for California employers.

Smiley is a partner at the firm of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, LLP, and works primarily in the area of employment law. (For handbook mistakes 1 and 2, click here.)

Mistake #3: Neglecting to detail procedures for reporting and addressing harassment.

Most employers recognize the need to have a policy to protect against illegal discrimination and harassment. Many employers, however, neglect to include procedures for reporting harassment or discrimination.


101 must-have employee handbook policies, specifically for California employers and fully customizable to your needs.


These procedures should include:

  • Requiring employees who witness or experience harassment to report those incidents directly to management officials who have the authority to investigate and resolve any problems.
  • Giving employees the option to report harassment claims to an official outside of their chain of command.
  • Stating that all reports of harassment will be investigated and disclosures made only when necessary to investigate any incident or as required by law. Keep in mind that employers should never promise employees absolute confidentiality.

Employers may also need to revise policies to deal with the increased reliance on technology, such as email, Internet usage, and office monitoring. Employers should add clear and precise provisions to deal with these technologies that can be abused and misused by employees. Here are some tips:

  • Specify each type of equipment that will be subject to monitoring, e.g., email, voicemail, internet access systems, hard drives, laptops, PDAs, and cell phones.
  • Include an acknowledgement form in your handbook so that employees understand the monitoring policy and consent to each form of monitoring.
  • Add provisions requiring employees to use only hands-free cell phones, PDAs or other devices while driving on company time or en route to conduct company business.

All the policies you need, fully editable and customizable — your employee handbook is already complete!


Whether you’re drafting your first employee handbook or updating one that is decades old, it’s always a good idea to have an employment law attorney review your manual, Smiley says.

All the Policies You Need, in One Place

Whatever shape your employee handbook’s in, it could probably be better. More comprehensive. More clear. More helpful for communicating your rules and expectations clearly and keeping you out of a lawsuit.

An incomplete or incorrect handbook is more than just a nuisance. If it’s not drafted correctly, your handbook can actually lead you down the very path you’re hoping to avoid: The one that leads to the local courthouse.

Our brand-new HR Management & Compliance Report, the California Employee Handbook Template, includes 101 vital policies — written specifically for employers in California — including:

  • At-Will Employment
  • Employee Classifications
  • Social Media Code of Conduct
  • Right to Observe Employees
  • Voice Mail, Email, Electronic and Computer Files, and Usage
  • Appearance and Courtesy; Uniforms
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Harassment Prohibited
  • Retaliation Prohibited
  • Bullying Prohibited
  • Accommodation of Disabilities
  • Zero Tolerance for Drugs or Alcohol in the Workplace
  • Terminations
  • Final Pay
  • Progressive Discipline
  • Rest Periods
  • Meal Periods
  • Overtime Pay, Authorization, and Mandatory Overtime
  • Payroll Deductions
  • Travel Time Pay
  • Bereavement Leave
  • COBRA Coverage for Health Insurance
  • And 79 more!

Click here for a full Table of Contents. 
All of the policies are fully editable and customizable — when you order, you’ll get a link to editable Word versions of all 101 policies.

All of the policies in the California Employee Handbook Template have been drafted by an experienced California employment lawyer. Plus, we’ve provided practical information for every single policy on:

  • Which employers the policy applies to
  • Which employees the policy applies to
  • Whether the policy is required or optional
  • Special considerations

It’s like having a California employment lawyer on call, working on your handbook 24/7, at a fraction of the cost!

Best of all, we’ll send you a brand-new edition each year so that you always have the most up-to-date policies available. Don’t delay — and get your handbook up to date once and for all.

Download your free copy of How To Survive an Employee Lawsuit: 10 Tips for Success