The Special Case of California Employee Handbooks

The Special Case of California Employee Handbooks

May 13, 2015 at 10:30 am PT / 1:30pm ET
Duration 1.0 hours

HR professionals have long since been sold on the value of an informative and current employee handbook, but they can quickly become litigation traps if not created or kept up to date properly. This webinar will guide Golden State employers past potential landmines to ensure they are drafted and used effectively.

Properly constructed and maintained, an employee handbook can serve as a training device for both line employees and supervisors. Equally important is their use as a defense in litigation, arbitration or other ADR proceedings to demonstrate that a written policy existed; show that employees had knowledge of it; and indicate that employees were encouraged to ask questions about the policy.

Yet, it is easy for employee handbooks to become litigation traps. For example if they were revised, but never distributed; or there is no proof that employee ever received or had access to them; or they are not updated regularly to reflect statutory, regulatory and case law changes.

Join experienced Littler employment attorneys Chris Cobey and Ben Emmert as they explore what you need to put in a California employee handbook, what you should exclude and answers to questions such as:

  • Is the handbook a contract?
  • Should you put your arbitration agreement in the handbook?
  • How do you decide what goes in the policy manual, and what goes in the handbook?
  • Should you promise more than the law requires?
  • Do you have to consider what the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has said about handbook contents if no part of your workforce is unionized?
  • What is the legal effect of inconsistent provisions of your handbook?

Presented by

Christopher Cobey

Christopher Cobey

Christopher E. Cobey is knowledge management counsel in the San Jose office of Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Mr. Cobey has handled a broad range of employment and labor matters, including wrongful termination cases, breach of contract disputes, race, gender, age and disability discrimination and harassment lawsuits and wage and hour class actions.

He has extensive litigation experience trying cases to verdict or judgment in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Benjamin Emmert

Benjamin Emmert

Benajmin A. Emmert represents employers in a variety of civil litigation matters in both state and federal court, including trials and appellate advocacy. He also represents the interests of employers in labor matters before administrative agencies and tribunals, such as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. He also handles arbitration and mediation.

Mr. Emmert's areas of expertise include employment discrimination, wrongful termination, unlawful harassment, wage and hour disputes, Title VII, the FDA, FLSA, FMLA, Fair Employment and Housing Act, and Older Workers Benefit Protection Act.

Prior to joining Littler Mendelson, Mr. Emmert was a litigator for a law firm in San Jose, California. In law school, he was editor for the Santa Clara University Law Review and was a member of the trial team and Honors Moot Court.

HR and compliance personnel will learn >

  • The values and pitfalls of California employee handbooks
  • Sources of information for updating your California employee handbook
  • The expanding scope of local ordinances concerning the workplace and the impact the NLRB has on employee handbook policies