Employee Handbook Best Practices

OCT 13, 2020

First things first, talk to them about why they don’t want to sign the handbook. There may be an easily resolved misunderstanding about what their signature on this document means.

If that conversation doesn’t solve the problem, and you still want them to work for you, make it clear that failure to sign the handbook does not mean they’re exempt from the policies, procedures, or expectations it describes. They will be expected to follow the same rules and will be held to the same standards as their co-workers, regardless of whether they signed the acknowledgement.

If they still refuse to sign—even after understanding that their lack of signature doesn’t get them out of following your policies—you’ll want to document that in some fashion. For instance, ask them to write, “I refuse to sign” on the acknowledgement form and make your own note that you communicated that their refusal to sign didn’t mean they were exempt from your policies. If possible, call in another manager to serve as a witness to this conversation, and have them document what happened as well. 


Kara practiced employment law for five years and worked in Human Resources for several years prior to that. As an attorney, she worked on many wage and hour and discrimination claims in both state and federal court. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oregon State University and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.