We are putting the finishing touches on the firm and getting ready for our launch on June 1, 2017. Like any good plaintiff-side employment law firm, we paid special attention to our Employee Handbook. I know that there are a zillion things to do when starting a new business, and it's hard to make time for an Employee Handbook. But it's also critical to have clear and lawful policies in place from Day One so that you don't inadvertently break the law in the craze of starting up. For example, if you will have employees on Day One, it is really important to have a written break policy so that employees understand when to take breaks on their very first day of work. If you have part-time employees whose shifts will be completed in less than six hours, you might discuss with them whether they want to agree to a meal waiver. California law is pretty complicated when it comes to meal and rest breaks - even judges sometimes don't get it. One big mistake I regularly see is a multi-state employer based outside of California using a "one size fits all" Employee Handbook for its California employees. These "one size fits all" handbooks often miss important California-specific policies, such as for pregnancy leave or breaks. So, if you're starting up a new business, be sure to take some time to draft an Employee Handbook, preferably with assistance from an attorney who is familiar with California law.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.