Protect Yourself with Employee Agreements and Workplace Policies.
The upfront cost of approaching a lawyer to prepare employee agreements and workplace policies might look to a new business like an unnecessary expense.
This is especially true for smaller businesses with fewer employees and less overhead. However, the cost of hiring a lawyer to defend your business from a wrongful dismissal claim or a Human Rights complaint will many times exceed that same upfront cost of protecting yourself with a well-drafted agreement or policy.
General employee agreements and workplace policies can, with very little revision, be used for multiple employees and for years after the agreements or policies are drafted. Although always a good idea to keep these documents updated, they can be looked at as an investment in protecting your business.
Some general provisions that are included in most employment contracts and agreements are:
- Term and type of employment
- Salary and Benefits
- Probationary period and ability to dismiss employees in this period without noticeNotice periods for resignation and termination
- Notice periods for resignation and terminationNon-Competition provisions (if relevant)
- Non-Competition provisions (if relevant)Requirement to follow all policies
- Requirement to follow all policiesConfidentiality agreements (if relevant)
- Confidentiality agreements (if relevant)
Some policies employees should have to sign when they start work include, but are not limited to:Workplace Harassment Policies (Including Sexual Harassment Policies)
- Workplace Harassment Policies (Including Sexual Harassment Policies)
- Scent Policies
- Workplace Electronics Policies
- Discipline Policies
- Dress Code Policies (Including Cleanliness)
- Attendance Policies (Including Policies Regarding Sick Days and Storm Days)
By having these agreements and policies in writing, and signed off by employees, the employer is able to cover themselves in multiple ways.
First, employment agreements outline how and when an employee can be dismissed, and allow for peace of mind for the employer that when they let an employee go they will not have to worry about a claim for wrongful dismissal, or a claim for a longer period of notice.
Secondly, having workplace policies that address the above-noted areas shows to employees that some behaviors are not acceptable, and shows that the company is actively discouraging certain types of conduct. In this way it cannot be said that the business has not given any thought to the issues, and if there is discipline or dismissal on these grounds in the future, the employee cannot say they were unaware.
The lawyers at Key Murray Law working in the area of Employment Law would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the drafting or revision of employment agreements or workplace policies.
Legal information appearing in this article and elsewhere on Key Murray Law’s website is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for or replace any legal or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require legal advice, you should consult directly with one of our lawyers.