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Employers, both large and small, are advised to generate clear rules for workplace conduct as part of a comprehensive human resources program and a general operating procedure. Employers who do not create and uniformly enforce policies and procedures for their employees, or fail to regularly update their employee handbook or personnel manual, expose themselves to significant risks associated with allegations of disparate treatment and ambiguous workplace rules. Notwithstanding disclaimers to the contrary, in some instances, employee handbooks may be considered contractually binding, which obligates both employees and employers to adhere to the specific terms of a handbook.

Policy handbooks govern a wide variety of workplace conduct, from dress codes to emergency or safety procedures. Many policies outline available employee benefits and workplace leave options in the event of illness, a death in the family or jury duty. Personnel manuals are increasingly used to restrict employee privacy and ownership to electronic data and communications on company computers, servers or email services.

If you would like further information regarding the review or evaluation of an employment handbook or personnel manual, please call our office at (617) 577-8800 or email or

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