Texas Employers: Do You Need an Employee Handbook?

robindBusiness, Employees, EmploymentLaw

Does your business really need an employee handbook?

For most employers, the answer is yes.

You should (1) have an employee handbook and (2) review and revise your employee handbook regularly to ensure that it complies with state and federal employment laws and communicates the business’s current policies and procedures to employees.

In this article, we will discuss the basics of why your business needs an employee handbook and what should be included in the handbook, including:

-Topics that your employee handbook should cover,

-Disclaimers and acknowledgments,

-Required policies that must be included, and

-Recommended policies that may be included based on the needs of the business.

Why Texas Employers Need an Employee Handbook

There are many reasons your business may need an employee handbook, but the common thread is that a well-drafted employee handbook will help your business to (1) avoid complaints and lawsuits and (2) effectively defend against complaints and lawsuits when they are filed.


A clearly drafted handbook that is tailored to your business’s needs will:

-Communicate information about employee benefits so employees know what to expect from the company,

-Clarify each employee’s roles and responsibilities so employees know what the company expects from them,

-Communicate the business’s policies and procedures including safety policies and disciplinary policies so employees know 1) what is considered misconduct and 2) the consequences for a violation,

-Communicate state and federal employment laws to employees to ensure that the business is in compliance, and

-Ensure that employees are treated uniformly to avoid allegations of discrimination or wrongful termination.

Informing all employees of your business’s policies and procedures – and documenting that each employee was informed by having them sign an acknowledgment – avoids problems before they begin.

Also, if there is an employee complaint, one of the first things the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will ask for is documentation of your disciplinary policy and procedures…

Topics Your Employee Handbook Should Cover

Some of the general topics that should be covered in an employee handbook include:

An introduction – including a mission statement and a description of the company’s organization,

Employment policies – including equal employment opportunities, sexual harassment policy and procedure for complaints, transfer and promotions policies, privacy rights, personnel records, and safety procedures,

Compensation policies – including employment levels, probationary status, work hours, part-time and temporary employee policies, payroll procedures, overtime policy, bonus plans, and performance evaluations,

Time-off benefits – including vacation time, holidays, personal time, sick leave, family leave, military leave, jury duty, and election days,

Group benefits – including health, life, dental, and disability insurance plans, retirement, and workers’ compensation procedures,

Employee conduct – including absenteeism and tardiness policy, outside employment or “moonlighting” policy, alcohol or drug use, personal appearance, and disciplinary policies including termination of employment,

Disclaimers – your employee handbook should include disclaimers, including a clearly visible disclaimer at the beginning of the document, that unambiguously states that the handbook is not an employment contract, the policies are guidelines only, the employer has the right to change or delete provisions without prior notice, and the employee’s relationship status is “at will,” and

An Acknowledgement – to be signed by both employee and management, acknowledging that the employee has received a copy, read, and understands the content of the handbook including the disclaimers.

What Policies Should Be Included in an Employee Handbook

Some policies must be included in your employee handbook. Even if you do not have an employee handbook, your business may be required to have certain federal, state, or industry-specific written policies in place.

Note that the required policies may change depending on the states where your company does business or the number of employees – your corporate counsel can assist you in ensuring that you have included all written policies required by federal and state law.

Other policies may be recommended to clarify your policies and procedures, to avoid litigation, or to allow your company to effectively respond to complaints or lawsuits.

Required Policies

Policies that may be required for businesses in Texas include:

-Equal Employment and Anti-Discrimination Policies,

-Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy,

-Jury Duty Policy,

-Military Leave Pol-icy,

-Sexual Harassment Policy,

-Crime Victim Leave Policy,

-Voting Leave Policy, and

-Witness Duty and Court Appearance Leave Policy.

Recommended Policies

There are many other policies that, although not required by law, your attorney may recommend you include in your employee handbook.

Some of these may be common suggestions that most businesses will include in their handbooks, while others may be policies that are based on your company’s unique situation or business model.

For example, some other policies that you may consider include:

  • Privacy Policy,
  • Arbitration Policy,
  • At-Will Employment Policy,
  • Anti-Discrimination Policy,
  • Anti-Retaliation Policy,
  • Reasonable Accommodation Policy,
  • Background Check Policy,
  • Business Expense Policy,
  • Company Property Policy,
  • Confidentiality and Trade Secrets Policy,
  • Direct Deposit Policy,
  • Dress Code Policy,
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy,
  • Marijuana Use Policy,
  • Electronic Devices in Company Vehicles Policy,
  • GPS in Company Vehicles Policy,
  • Employee Benefits Policy,
  • Employee Classification Policy,
  • Employee Monitoring Policy,
  • Employee Dating Policy,
  • Employment of Relatives/ Nepotism Policy,
  • Safety Policy,
  • Holidays Policy,
  • Immigration Law Compliance Policy,
  • Breastfeeding Policy,
  • Leave Policies,
  • Outside Employment/ Moonlighting Policy,
  • Overtime Policy,
  • Payroll Procedure Policy,
  • Payroll Deductions Policy,
  • Performance Review Policy,
  • Employee Conduct and Disciplinary Policy,
  • Termination of Employment Policy,
  • Personnel Files Policy,
  • Pets Policy,
  • Public Relations Policy,
  • Absenteeism and Tardiness Policy,
  • Wage and Salary Policy,
  • Social Media Policy,
  • Remote Work Policy,
  • Temporary Relocation Policy,
  • Timekeeping Policy,
  • Video Conferencing Policy,
  • Workers’ Compensation Policy,
  • Workplace Violence Policy, and
  • Visitor Policy.

Your corporate counsel can assist you in (1) ensuring that all policies required by state or federal law and (2) all recommended policies appropriate to your industry and business model are included in your employee handbook.


Please feel free to call one of our Murray Lobb attorneys about any of your employment law needs, including employee handbooks, issues of unfair competition, non-compete, non-solicitation, non-disparagement, confidentiality, and severance agreements, employment discrimination claims, employee/independent contractor status, overtime and wage questions, or representation before the Texas Workforce Commission, EEOC, or Department of Labor.