Employee Handbooks & Employment Forms « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Employee Handbooks
& Employment Forms

Employee Policy Manual Specialists

Our firm defends employers daily on lawsuits for (alleged) discrimination, (purported) retaliation, (supposed) harassment, (asserted) unpaid wages or overtime, and just about every other workplace accusation imaginable. Management’s inappropriate or illegal behavior rarely the source of such court battles. Suits more often generate and grow from company failures: i) to have, instruct upon, and follow simple, written policy; and ii) to promptly and fairly document workplace upsets and their resolution. Pile on the clichés and maxims if you wish. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t bad. “If it isn’t written, it isn’t true” is better.

Whether in California’s highly regulated workplaces or elsewhere, thorough and current employee handbooks (also called employee or workplace policy manuals) are vital. An employer which does not structure workplace production, organization and procedure around sound, sensible, easy-to-understand written policies is prone to finding itself sooner or later in the midst of an expensive court controversy. If written policy does not exist or if it is not followed, if disruptive incidents and the fair addressing of them are not documented promptly and consistently, then that disgruntled, and perhaps disreputable, former employee and his/her lawyer may find it tempting  to invent practices and versions of events to fit their hoped-for but undeserved “pay day.” 

Very few jurors are employers. Almost all of them have been former employees at one time or another. At the end of a trial over alleged employee mistreatment, it will be these sworn-to-be-neutral citizens who will gauge whether the employer or worker is telling the more credible story. For a business, no written policy and no documentation in these circumstances are a recipe for a very expensive disaster.

For the sound written foundations employers should have to reduce the risk of such a scenario, Bowles Law continues to update and refine comprehensive template employee handbooks California employers need. These handbooks exist for other states as well.

A Solution To Your Problems

An employee handbook containing all legally required policies and procedures is an essential tool to protect employer and employee alike. Bowles Law has developed – and periodically revises to match the changing law – a template “soup-to-nuts” employee handbook to serve as the foundation of a finalized set of workplace policies customized for a client’s actual operations and legal obligations. The larger the number a company employs, the more state and federal employment laws apply. As of 2021, a particularly significant threshold for California employers is now at five or more persons on payroll, with a business then subject to a number of detailed “medical and family” leave obligations. There is a similar federal standard that applies to companies with 50 or more on payroll.

Whether a client utilizes our template or its own existing employee handbook as a starting point, ensuring that compilation of policies and protocols fits the business’s operations should be a collaborative process between management and specialist legal counsel. 

Common topics include:
  • At-will employment
  • Employee status and classification, including preliminary/”probationary” and regular employment
  • Prohibitions on unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation
  • Company rules and standards of conduct
  • Employee compensation
  • Employee benefits, including paid sick leave, paid or unpaid vacation, holiday, etc.
  • Job performance
  • Qualifications for paid and unpaid leave
  • Mutual termination rights
  • Job-related illness or injury

We provide your template employee policy manual in hard copy and in electronic format to enable the necessary revisions to match specific company operations

Employment Form & Policies Package

For the same “ounce of prevention” purposes, Bowles Law offers a regularly updated set of template “hire-to-fire” forms, including:

California Employment Forms Overview: A summary of the necessary and recommended forms, policies and notices the package provides or that are otherwise available by specified internet links.

Employment Application, with Job Description Template: This form includes a series of applicant acknowledgments on the employer’s terms for application and hiring, including compliance with California and federal standards for disability accommodation as well as the reasonable balance between the employer’s right to inquire for job traits and skills and the applicant’s privacy protections.

Conditional Job Offer and Criminal History Inquiry: This form is significantly revised for California’s restrictions on the use of an applicant’s criminal record to deny employment.

Pre-Employment Advertising, Screening and Interviews Policy: This template properly positions pre-employment job traits testing and other processing as help in finding the best qualified candidate(s).

Employment Agreement: This document confirms, among other things, worker confidentiality obligations on company client/customer/patient lists and other trade secret and proprietary information.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement: Mindful of the latest high court decisions closely regulating such agreements, this form provides terms mediating or arbitrating disputes in lieu of court suits and jury trials.

 

Invention Assignment Agreement: This form is for companies working in fields of technology invention, innovations, etc.

Proficiency and Career Training Policy and Acknowledgment: This template provides rules and protocols for company-sponsored training, including programs for a worker’s needed job skills and for career advancement.

Employee Record-Keeping and Rest-Meal Breaks Acknowledgment: Monthly use of this form documents an employee’s accurate timekeeping of hours worked as well as provision of legally mandated paid rest breaks and unpaid meal periods.

Paid Sick Leave Benefit Guidelines and Policy: This series of instructional memoranda and implementation forms assists management navigate the intersecting and sometimes conflicting California and local municipal rules on mandatory paid sick leave benefits.

Severance Pay Summary and Attachments: This set of protocols and forms includes a checklist and template letter and release agreement for severance packages sometimes offered workers at termination.

Pandemic/COVID-19 Related Policies and Protocols: In conjunction with the mounting web of federal, state and local government directives in response to the pandemic, this specialized sub-set of policies and procedures spans an employer’s as well as worker responsibilities to maintain health and safety of the workforce with as minimum impact as possible on production.

Contact Us


If you are an employer facing possible litigation, or have an employee issue on which you need immediate guidance, call us to set up a consultation, or submit your message.

NOTE: Use of this website does not make one a client of the Law Offices of Timothy Bowles (“Firm” or “Bowles Law”). Establishing an attorney-client relationship and the confidentiality that comes with it depends on the Firm’s prior confirmation that no factor, including any conflict of interest (for example, our representation of another party adverse to you), exists to prevent that establishment. If you have confidential information that you would like to provide a Bowles Law attorney, please communicate directly to one of our attorneys, in person, by telephone, email, fax or other written means. Do not use this website to offer or communicate confidential information about any legal matter.

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