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Are you unsure of what documents you should have on file for each employee? Are you also unsure of the documents which should have given to each employee?  If the answer is yes, you are certainly not alone.  Most small employers know that there are documents they should collect and distribute, but very few are 100% sure what they are.  Unfortunately there is not a guidebook given out to employers, yet employers are expected to know the rules, and face large penalties if they do not have the proper documentation in place.

The list of documentation can vary by state and even by industry but here is a short list that every employer should have.  Employment lawsuits are trending upward, and if a business owner finds themselves in a position where they need to defend themselves, the following list is critical.  Even if you never need these documents for defense purposes they will help the employer/employee relationship.

Job Descriptions – A well written job description makes sure that clear expectations have been set and both employer and employee know what needs to be accomplished.  Also, without a job description it is very difficult to hold an employee accountable or praise them for going above and beyond.  Job descriptions should be specific in nature and should be updated as the position changes.

Employee Handbook – Handbooks establish the policies and set the tone of the company.  Forgoing an employee handbook can be very dangerous for a company with even a small number of employees.  An employer should never assume that employees know what conduct is expected of them.

Performance Evaluations – These are a great tool to help manage employees.  Open and honest feedback is important to help correct certain behaviors and encourage others.  They are also a very important piece of defense material if a terminated employee claims they were fired for anything other than performance.

W-4 Forms and I-9 Forms – These standard employment forms are required to be on file for all employees of your company.  These should be collected on or before the first day of employment.

This article expands on these and offers some helpful advice.

If you have additional questions or would like to learn where you can find these documents please contact us at or 978-998-6896.

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