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What if an employee refuses to sign the employee handbook?

May 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm

JD Kara, SPHR, with HR Snapshot, tackles this question, and here’s what she recommends:

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

If that conversation doesn’t solve the problem, and you still want her to work for you, she needs to be told that failure to sign the handbook does not mean she is exempt from the policies and procedures within it. She will be expected to follow the same rules and will be held to the same standards as her co-workers, regardless of whether you have her signature on file.

If she persists in her refusal to sign, ask her to write “I refuse to sign” on the acknowledgement form, along with the date. You should write “employee refused to sign” along with your own signature, and if possible, call in another manager to witness this and sign off as well. Make sure you document (right on the acknowledge form is fine) that you told the employee she will still be expected to follow the policies and would be subject to discipline for falling to do so, just like everyone else.

About the author: JD Kara practiced employment and bankruptcy law for five years before joining HR Snapshot and was a human resources generalist at an architecture and engineering firm 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’s degree from Oregon State University and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.

Categories: Payroll Administration, Human Resource Consulting.

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