Manager's only handbook

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Some companies have separate job manuals for employees and managers. Generally, a company will distribute a manager's only handbook to guide supervisors on the procedures for disciplining employees. It's usually meant to be read only by supervisors and not by the staff. One reason for doing this is that language used in a managers-only policy may be considered contract language to an employee or interpreted as a legal promise by the company. For example, a manager might be instructed in the handbook to discipline employees through a series of progressive discipline approaches before termination is considered. If an employee is fired immediately after a first offense and is aware of the manager's discipline policy, he or she might file a claim that discipline procedures weren't properly followed in the handbook. To help ensure that a manager's only handbook isn't mistaken for a contract, employers should always include a disclaimer that the manual is not to be seen as a contract, even if the handbook is not distributed to employees. Employers should also reserve the right to change or eliminate policy provisions at its discretion as well as provide flexibility in applying its policies. It may be helpful to include a list of some examples that might lead to discipline or immediate termination. Manager's only handbooks should be written in a clear and concise manner and be free of any language that might be construed as promises by the employer.
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