Don’t go by this book – Raw Data – worst employee manuals

Don’t go by this book – Raw Data – worst employee manuals – Brief Article

Todd Raphael

This isn’t the kind of contest you want to win.

Judges of the World’s Worst Manual contest reviewed computer-setup instructions, software manuals, and instructions for various consumer products from throughout the United States and Canada. The winner was an employee handbook by a small private service company in San Diego.

The handbook was so poorly worded that, if it were interpreted literally, an employee might think he should steal from the company, sleep on the job, and destroy property. It uses the term “workman’s compensation,” which has long since been changed to “workers’ compensation.” It also has many ambiguities about whether the employee is working “at will” or not “at will.”

Jennifer Lutz, an attorney with Klinedinst, Fliehman & McKillop, reviewed the manual and said that it wasn’t merely confusing; at times, it was wrong. In California, for example, companies must pay employees overtime if they work more than eight hours in one day. The manual ignores that rule and only addresses what happens if you work more than a 40-hour week.

“This thing is an employment-law attorney’s worst nightmare,” Lutz says. She recommends that every employee handbook be reviewed by an attorney. If a company can’t afford it, Lutz says, HR. professionals should keep up with legal developments in their state by reading relevant newsletters and attending law seminars.

The award was given in March by Technical Standards, a San Diego company that offers technical-writing services.

COPYRIGHT 2002 ACC Communications Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group