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Do I need contracts for my staff if they signed my employee handbook?


Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
Do I need contracts for my staff if they signed my employee handbook?
 
Question:
Jennifer,
Thank you for providing me with my handbook.  Everyone has signed.  Do I also need to have my staff sign contracts? 
Thanks, 
Dr. I
Answer: 
Dr. I, if we are talking about your administrative staffers and they have signed a comprehensive employee handbook that details their vacation time, rules of operation at the practice, restrictions on use of patient information, requirement to return company property, etc.  There is no need to also have an employment contract.  Courts view the two as the same, a binding contractual arrangement between employer and employee.  Where a contract would be recommended is where an employee has an arrangement that is different then others - so possibly an elevated position, like your office manager, or a licensed professional.  Also, if you feel the need to more restrictively restrict an individual from soliciting or competing, and you do not feel the need to do so for others, you would use a contract.  Remember, for a contract to be valid you have to give something to get something.  So the best time to have an employee validly execute an agreement is at time of hiring - I give you job so long as you sign contract!
If we are adopting a new or updated employee handbook, my recommendation is we try to roll out in unison to all employees and effectuate execution in a limited period of time.  

February 16, 2017
 
Question:

Jennifer,

Thank you for providing me with my handbook.  Everyone has signed.  Do I also need to have my staff sign contracts? 

Thanks, 
Dr. I

Answer: 

Dr. I, if we are talking about your administrative staffers and they have signed a comprehensive employee handbook that details their vacation time, rules of operation at the practice, restrictions on use of patient information, requirement to return company property, etc. There is no need to also have an employment contract.  Courts view the two as the same, a binding contractual arrangement between employer and employee. Where a contract would be recommended is where an employee has an arrangement that is different then others - so possibly an elevated position, like your office manager, or a licensed professional.  Also, if you feel the need to more restrictively restrict an individual from soliciting or competing, and you do not feel the need to do so for others, you would use a contract.  Remember, for a contract to be valid you have to give something to get something. So the best time to have an employee validly execute an agreement is at time of hiring - I give you job so long as you sign contract!

If we are adopting a new or updated employee handbook, my recommendation is we try to roll out in unison to all employees and effectuate execution in a limited period of time.  


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