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Dana Point CA 92629
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"The Legal Member of Your Business Team"

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Employment Manuals
Why Do We Need One?

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Each employer will need to decide whether to have an employment handbook or manual, sometimes known as a human resources policies and procedures manual. There are substantial advantages to utilizing an employment manual. There are also substantial risks when relying upon an improper employment manual.

Differing state laws, business types, number and type of employees, among other factors, will significantly alter your risks and your employment manual.

A properly written employment manual becomes necessary as the number of employees increases. From the listing found at the end hereof, very significant employee rights and employer liabilities begin at 15 employees, at which point the Federal Civil Rights Act becomes applicable.

California laws are often more liberal than federal laws and may commence with even fewer employees, such as the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which kicks in at 5 employees.  You may find an employment manual helpful beginning at 5 employees in California.

Employment manuals actually may perform many functions, including to:

  • welcome employees and relate firm history, missions, and reputation,

  • advise general company information, such as working hours and dress code,

  • tell your company’s benefits,

  • confirm that the firm and its employees comply with all employment laws, such as civil rights and harassment,

  • itemize major violations and potential disciplinary options, including firing,

  • avoid unintended contractual relationships with employees, and

  • arbitrate employee claims.

When your business reaches the following number of employees in the State of California, the following legal requirements and more arise, necessitating greater knowledge, sophistication, training, policies, procedures, and forms:  

These laws may change, sometimes faster than this website.  Consult us or another attorney for up-to-date advice.

One Employee:

  • Federal and State Wage and Hour

  • State Harassment Prohibitions

  • Workers’ Compensation

  • Unemployment Compensation

  • Immigration and Child Labor Laws

  • Labor-Management Relations

  • Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA)

  • State Disability Insurance  

  • Paid Family Leave

Five Employees:

  • State Anti-Discrimination Laws

  • State Pregnancy Disability Leave

  • Federal Immigration Laws

Fifteen Employees:

  • Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

  • Americans with Disabilities Act

Twenty Employees:


  • Federal Age Discrimination Act

Twenty-Five Employees:

  • Illiteracy Accommodation

  • Federal and State Drug Free Workplace

  • HMO Act

  • Time Off for Children

Fifty Employees:

  • Federal and State Family Leave Acts

  • Affirmative Action Programs (government contractors)  

Seventy-Five Employees:

  • California WARN Act

One Hundred Employees:

  • Federal WARN Act

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Caveat: The purpose of this article is to provide information, rather than advice or opinion. It is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of the date of the article. I have no duty to update this article. The information, examples and suggestions presented in this article have been developed from sources believed to be reliable. This article should not be viewed as a substitute for the guidance and recommendations of a retained professional and should not be construed as legal or other professional advice. In addition, I do not endorse any actions addressed herein, unless they are produced or created by me.  I recommend consultation with me or other competent legal counsel and/or other professional advisors before applying this material to any particular factual situations.

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©2002-2014 Bruce Leonard Beal
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Questions to ask Beal Business Law
Do I need to have an employment handbook?
Do I need to have an employment manual?
Do I need to have a human resources policies and procedures manual?
Are there advantages to having an employment manual?
Are there risks to having an employment manual?
Why is the number of employees important legally?
What are the purposes of employment manuals?
Do different laws apply depending upon the number of employees?