the importance of employee handbooks

Updating the Employee Handbook

It is no secret that every business, big or small, should have an employee handbook. The Employee handbook play an important role in safeguarding a business from potential employee claims. However, many business owners tend to overlook the importance of updating the employee handbook. 

Employment law is constantly changing in response to social norms. Employers should be aware of these changes, and be actively adapting and implementing amendments to their policies. Employment policies should use simple, clear and concise language. The employee handbook is equally as important for your protection as it is for your employees.

So, when should you update your employee handbook? The answer to that is simple: at least once a year. In the following article, we highlight some of the policies employers should consider when updating their handbooks.

Employment Policies About Sexual Harassment

In Ontario, employers have a legal responsibility to provide an environment free from sexual harassment, and to take prompt action when it occurs.  Business owners and employers should make sure that they have a clear sexual harassment policy in place, among others to comply with their workplace obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”), Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) and Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”).

A well-written sexual harassment policy can help foster a safe and healthy work environment. The policy should include details about the conduct that is considered harassment and on how the employer will deal with the issue if it arises. Further your handbook should have a dress code that does not promote sexism. If you are an employer and are not sure about how to update your sexual harassment policy, an experienced employment and Human Rights lawyer can help.  

Employment Policies Concerning Termination

Employers should evaluate whether their policies concerning the termination of employees are up-to-date. Careful consideration should be given to ensure an Ontario employer’s termination policies comply with the ESA. 

A workplace termination policy should include an outline of the rules and procedures that an employer will follow when terminating employment. The policy should typically include information about:

  • Disciplinary steps before a termination occurs;
  • The circumstances an employer may terminate an employee with cause
  • An employee’s obligations upon termination of their employment, such as the return of company property; and 
  • The calculation of an employee’s notice pay or severance entitlements.  

It is also in the employer’s interest to make employees aware of their rights regarding termination. A clear termination policy can help avoid misunderstandings between employers and employees, and promote workplace transparency. 

If you are an employer or employee who has any questions about workplace termination policies, contact an employment lawyer to assist.

Employers interested in offering remote work should clarify the eligibility for a remote work position. This includes details about the equipment that will be required, and if the equipment will be provided by the employer. Employers should also provide information on how they will be tracking employee productivity and performance. Depending on the nature of the business, remote work can prove to be beneficial for both employers and employees. 

If you are an employer interested in transitioning into a remote-working structure, or are looking to hire remote employees but are unsure of how to proceed while minimizing your legal risks, an employment lawyer can help.

Contact Achkar Law today to schedule a consultation with our Experienced Employment Lawyers

Contact us by phone toll-free at 1-800-771-7882 or email us at [email protected], and we will be happy to assist.

The Employment Handbook and Remote Employees

In a rapidly evolving work landscape, the rise of remote work has become a defining trend. As organizations adapt to this new way of operating, it’s essential to establish clear and comprehensive employment policies, especially when it comes to remote employees. The shift from a traditional office environment to remote work brings unique challenges and opportunities, both for employers and employees. To foster a productive and harmonious remote work environment, organizations should consider implementing specific policies tailored to this mode of work.

1. Remote Work Arrangements

2. Communication Expectations

3. Work Hours and Availability

4. Data Security and Privacy

5. Equipment and Technology

6. Performance Evaluation and Accountability

7. Ergonomics and Workplace Safety

8. Training and Professional Development

9. Reporting Remote Work Hours

10. Compliance with Legal Requirements

By implementing well-defined policies for remote employees, organizations can create a supportive and productive remote work environment while ensuring compliance with legal requirements. These policies not only benefit employees by providing clarity and structure but also protect the interests of the organization.


As the law changes, so should an employer’s workplace policies and procedures to comply with the law. Employers should be aware of different laws and the changes that may impact them and their employees. 

It is important that your employee handbook remains a work-in-progress, responding and adapting to the changes in employment laws. The Employee handbook should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are up to date with current policies. 

An employment lawyer can help you update your knowledge and workplace policies to conform with current laws and regulations. Having a lawyer assist can provide you peace of mind while minimizing the legal risks to your business and providing transparency to your employees in the workplace. 

Contact Achkar Law

If you are an employer considering updating your employee handbook, our team of experienced workplace lawyers at Achkar Law can help.

Contact us by phone toll-free at 1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected], and we would be happy to assist.

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