I’ve edited a ton of employee handbooks over the years. Making employment policies too specific is one of the most common mistakes employers make when drafting their handbook (particularly in discipline policies). The incentive is to have the handbook address every possible workplace dispute in order to eliminate the discomfort in making a decision on whether an employee should be punished. Basically, “the handbook told me to do it”.
I always tried to remind clients that situations will arise that no amount of specificity will address. Take the case of Savvis Inc.‘s CEO, who allegedly racked up $241,000 in credit card charges at a Manhattan topless club. You can find stories, here, here, here and here.
Apparently, he’s been put on unpaid leave, but I cannot imagine that the infraction was detailed in the Savvis’ manual.
On a lighter note, the company has hired a firm to act as independent counsel for its Audit Committee, which is investigating the incident. Why couldn’ I get this kind of assignment when I was a junior associate?