In many Western countries, written employee handbooks have been standard practice for most employers for decades. These handbooks provide a uniform set of guidelines that the employer follows in terms of employee dress codes, vacation policies, procedures and grounds regarding discipline and termination of employees, and a whole host of other issues that may arise in the workplace. They can serve as powerful defenses in wrongful termination, harassment, whistle-blower protection and other lawsuits.
Employers in China are beginning to follow suit by adopting formal written employee handbooks where companies previously may have lacked formal policies and procedures relating to the above-mentioned topics. These employee handbooks cover topics relating to vacation policies, anti-corruption and bribery policies and procedures, minimum expectations for employees, workplace dress, termination and disciplinary procedures, and a slew of related issues that affect employees. Although Chinese labor law does contain protections for both employees as well as employers, developing and adopting an employee handbook assists employers in protecting themselves even further in their dealings with a particular troublesome employee.