The purpose of the handbook acknowledgement form is to show that employees were presented with and aware of the policies and procedures in your workplace. It doesn’t mean that they promise to follow the rules, but it does demonstrate that they were made aware of the information. While not required by law, it’s presence can help you protect your organization in unemployment, termination and other employment cases.
Burden of Proof
When employees are terminated or in some cases when they leave voluntarily, they may file for unemployment benefits. In many states, your unemployment taxes and payments increase when a former employee is approved for benefits. It’s important to consider disputing unemployment claims when your organization isn’t at fault for the departure.
An employee can’t be denied unemployment for failing to follow a policy or procedure that they don’t know about. When you dispute the unemployment claim, your organization bears the burden of proof in showing that the employee failed to follow policy and procedures. One of the best ways to do this is by producing the signed handbook acknowledgement form. Without this form, proving that employees were aware of the policies and procedures is difficult.
Acknowledgement Form Refusals
Getting employees to sign acknowledgement forms is generally easy to do. However, you’ll occasionally encounter employees who refuse to sign it. When this happens, ensure you document that they were made aware of the information by doing one of three things:
- Ask employees to write their refusal to sign the acknowledgement on the form
- Have managers or other witnesses write that the employee refused to sign the form.
- Document the insubordinate action at the very beginning of their employment and consider whether or not the employee is a FIT for your company.
Remember to have employees sign new acknowledgement forms whenever you make changes to policies and procedures. You’ll need access to the latest form when disputing unfair unemployment claims against your organization.
The acknowledgement form is useful not only in unemployment but also in legal disputes and various employer relation issues. Having a formalized process and system to ensure acknowledgement forms are properly stored and accounted for can save your organization both time and money. We can help you get started. Contact us today.