Employee Handbook Legal and Ethical Considerations

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When employers are putting together the employee handbook, they need to include some legal issues that may apply when there are any disputes or how go along with some procedures. The handbook is used to familiarize the employees with the policies and procedures that are to be followed in the organization. Employers may include certain provisions that dictate how the employees may carry out certain activities without putting the employer’s business in jeopardy.

The employers should ensure that they use the right language that will be later be interpreted by the employees in the right manner and that may not be violating employee organizational rights.

Most employers ensure that the employee handbook has certain restrictions that prevent employees from sharing the employer’s confidential information with outsiders. Such information is not usually available to the public and if it happens that it is leaked out, it would cause some damages to their business.

However, it is under the National Labor Relations act (NLRA) that the employees are free to discuss details about their compensation or conditions against which they have been employed with other people who are not part of the organization.

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The NLRB prohibits employers from giving policies of this nature. One of the Sections in the NLRA states that employees have a right to join or form unions or even be engaged in concerted activities.

However another section states that there are unfair labor practices that may be faced by an employer if employees join or form these unions or engage in other concerted activities.

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There may be problematic employee organizational rights that are under the NRLA but the employers can draft them in such a way that they are lawful according to the Act. The employers may include some anti-union statements that may be used when employees engage in unfair labor practices.

Whatever provisions are included in the handbook about legal considerations such as how the employer may violate the rights of the employees and generally how each party should conduct its activities without hurting each other. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS With many and different types of employees from different parts of a nation or even region, there is always a need for the employers to have certain considerations concerning the ethical culture of the organization. The ethical culture of an organization defines how the employees are to carry out all the operations in the organization.

Employees are supposed to treat customers with much respect since they are the major source of profits for the organization. They are supposed to take care of the interests of the employers and at the same time take care of their own interests. These interests should not be in conflict since they depend on the employer and the employer also depends on their efforts. The ethical considerations may also involve how to pass information to their core workers or the line managers or even to the top management.

They are supposed to use a certain communication channel that has been specified in the employee handbook. Communication is one of the important aspects in a business and therefore employers may consider this as one of the elements that determine the public image that they depict to the general public. Privacy is also a matter of ethical consideration whereby the employees are obligated to keep information about their employer to themselves and not discuss their terms and conditions of their employment.

Each organization and employer will have their own considerations to include in the employee handbooks but they should conform to the Acts of the National Labor


Act. Roger K. G. , Bankovich, C. & Browning,J. (2005).

What’s in Your Employee Handbook? Some Provisions May Be Harmful Rather Than Helpful Under the National Labor Relations Act. ASHHRA/IRI 24th Labor Activity Report. Papademetriou, L. (2003).

Employee Handbook: We Scare Because We Care. London: Random House Publishers.

Updated: Nov 20, 2023
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Employee Handbook Legal and Ethical Considerations. (2016, Sep 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/employee-handbook-essay

Employee Handbook Legal and Ethical Considerations essay
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