book that says employee handbook
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By Sanjeev Kumar
Founding Attorney

If you are an employer, you should make sure that you compile a practical employee handbook. Having a handbook that is given to and acknowledging receipt by all of your employees is critical to the workplace running efficiently and satisfying compliance requirements. Creating an effective employee handbook in Texas requires balancing legal compliance, clear communication, and fostering a positive workplace culture. Below is advice on how to craft one from both a Legal and Human Resources (HR)  perspective:

Legal Perspective For An Employee Handbook

  • Compliance with State and Federal Laws: Make sure your handbook complies with both federal employment laws and Texas state laws. Sections that need to be included are equal employment opportunity, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA, state-specific laws, and at-will employment provisions. To give you a few examples, you would want to outline that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continue to work instead of taking leave.
    You would also want to include Texas-specific laws like the Texas Payday Law. Under the Texas Payday Law, an executive, administrative, or professional employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act must be paid at least once per month, and all other employees must be paid at least twice monthly.
  • Anti-Discrimination Policies: Texas employers should include policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
  • At-Will Employment Clause: Texas is an at-will employment state, meaning that employment can be terminated by either the employer or employee for any reason not prohibited by law. Clearly state this in your handbook, but also clarify that the handbook itself is not an employment contract.
  • Dispute Resolution: You should include a clearly laid-out dispute resolution process. Many Texas employers adopt an open-door policy alongside arbitration agreements as part of their dispute resolution strategy.
  • Safety and Health: You must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and any state-specific safety requirements. You must also inform employees about workplace safety procedures and policies.

Human Resources (HR) Perspective For An Employee Handbook

  • Mission, Vision, and Values: Start your handbook with your company’s mission, vision, and values. This sets the tone for the document and aligns employees with your organization’s goals.
  • Company Policies and Procedures: Clearly outline company policies regarding attendance, dress code, internet and social media use, confidentiality, and other relevant topics. Be clear and concise to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Benefits and Leave Policies: Detail your company’s benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other perks. Also, detail your policies on leaves of absence, including sick, parental, and other types of leave available under federal and Texas laws.
  • Employee Conduct: Outline expected standards of conduct and the consequences of failing to meet these standards. This can include policies on workplace behavior, drug and alcohol use, and disciplinary procedures.
  • Acknowledgment of Receipt: Include a section where the employees acknowledge that they have received, read, and understood the handbook. This can be critical in legal disputes to prove that the employee knew company policies.

Employment laws change frequently. Regularly review and update your handbook to ensure compliance with current laws and best practices.  You will want to ensure the handbook is accessible to all employees, including those with disabilities. Consider providing it in different formats, for example,  printed, digital and large print.  It is beneficial to walk employees through critical sections of the handbook and answer any questions rather than just handing it out to your employees. Before distributing the handbook, have it reviewed by a Texas business law attorney, preferably someone experienced in employment law in Texas. This can help prevent legal issues down the line.


A well-crafted employee handbook helps you comply with legal standards, serves as a tool for building a positive organizational culture, and effectively resolves employee issues. The Kumar Law Firm, PLLC can work with employers before and after an employment handbook has been developed to ensure that all policies and procedures comply with current federal and state regulations and to help you avoid expensive legal disputes with employees.

About the Author
Sanjeev Kumar is the founder and principal at the Kumar Law Firm, which provides a wide range of legal services to entrepreneurs and business owners in the area of business & corporate law and intellectual property along with related areas of interest to clients such as business succession planning, wealth preservation through estate planning, and alternate dispute resolution.