Is Your Employee Handbook a Lawsuit Waiting to Happen?

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( — May 15, 2020) Lehi, UT — Businesses across the country came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With the bombardment of legislation passed in response to COVID-19 the most important thing business owners can do is to make sure they have taken proper steps against future lawsuits. Now is the time to make sure the employee handbook has been updated to include new legislation. Now is the time to make sure contracts and forms have been properly drafted by a trusted attorney. Now is the time to make sure to take these simple steps which will be the vital protection to the survival of small businesses.

Use an Attorney to Prepare the Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is a document that outlines a company’s mission, policies, and expectations. A well-written handbook will set forth an employer’s legal obligations to their employees and define their rights as an employee. A handbook becomes the “go-to” manual for all company policies and procedures. Small business owners may inadvertently expose their company to lawsuits by downloading contracts and business forms that are not specific to their business. Cash flow can be erratic which means small business owners must prioritize what to spend money on and a lot of things go to the bottom of that list. But having an experienced small business attorney should never be one of them. Downloading forms, not having properly drafted contracts, and not having employee handbooks, or one that is poorly written, exposes a company to unnecessary risks of liability.

Don’t DIY With Business Contracts!

Small business owners mistakenly believe that any form of a contract will provide sufficient protection if legal trouble arises. That is a false sense of security which could be financially devastating. Contract language makes or breaks the validity of your contract. Terms may not be spelled out that are specific to their business. Terms can be nullified if they conflict with local and state regulations. Even worse, a downloaded or improperly thrown together contract may not provide any legal protection which becomes a liability for your small business.

Review & Update Employee Handbooks and Contracts

In an ever-changing society, and especially with the COVID-19 legislation recently passed, now is the time to review contracts and your written policies. Local and state laws regarding workplace laws can change quickly and it’s important to make sure your handbook and policies are compliant with current laws. With the new legislation passed due to COVID-19, every employer should have issued emergency leave policies to employees. In these unprecedented times, employers should be taking every step possible to protect their businesses.  Just because you have an employee handbook does not mean that it already covers COVID-19 emergency paid leave.

It Only Takes ONE Person To Create A Legal Mess

Business owners wouldn’t dream of not buying liability insurance for the building where their business is located. If that building goes up in flames they need to be protected so they can rebuild. The same logic applies to contracts, forms, policies, and employee handbooks. The internet is not an attorney. While it’s tempting to download a free employee handbook or contracts to save time, it will not be specific to a business or the laws that govern where they are operated. This is the most common mistake small business owners make and it exposes them to a great deal of legal liability. It takes just one person to complain to the Department of Labor or to file a lawsuit for a business to go up in flames.

Protect Your Business Right From The Start

Dana Ball, a Utah based small business attorney says, “Is it really worth the risk of minimizing costs by downloading forms and risk losing your business down the road because you didn’t understand something and weren’t properly protected? Do it right from the start and you’ll protect your business and not end up a horror story.”

Small business owners wear many different hats that make it difficult to be aware of all the legal obligations they are under. Which makes finding good resources even more important so they can always be informed of legal responsibilities. An experienced attorney or a trusted accountant will become a valuable resource. “Rather than wait until a small problem turns into an expensive legal battle, growing companies should work with lawyers early and often to protect themselves from future problems. Attorneys who help small businesses get set up are generally much cheaper than litigators who represent companies in messy court battles.”

While these times are stressful and uncertain now is not the time to let the business guard down. Employers need to dig out employee handbooks, contracts, and forms to make sure they comply with updated laws. Now is not the time to try and do-it-yourself. Remember, business owners, do not have to navigate these stressful times alone. Reach out to a trusted advisor to help you.

About Dana Ball Legal Services

Dana Ball is a former litigation attorney who used to sue businesses. She has seen too many good business owners end up in bad situations, so today she helps them avoid common legal mistakes that land them in court. Dana’s 20 years of experience brings value and relief to small business owners with practical advice they can immediately implement into their day-to-day operations. Dana has made the whole process of having access to a lawyer easy and affordable with set pricing, ongoing legal support, and monthly plans to spread out the costs of safeguarding the business. Dana works with clients who care about their business and want to avoid court.

Dana Ball Legal Services

3450 N. Triumph Blvd
Ste 102
Lehi, UTAH 84043
United States