I feel like the hospitality industry is it's own separate beast in regards to Human Resources. You can find the warmest, most amazing employees but at the same time find employees who truly make you question your sanity. This story comes from my hospitality days but is a great example of why handbooks or at least policies are important and why your employees should always acknowledge they've received them.
We found an employee drinking some of the hotels fine wine while on the clock which is not uncommon in hospitality. Obviously we did a brief investigation, watched surveillance, looked at inventory and it was pretty evident that they were in fact drinking on the job. The employee lost their job.
The individual went on the file for unemployment and I was responsible for giving the initial employer response as to why this individual was unemployed. In a phone interview with unemployment, I explained that the employee was found drinking on the job and was ultimately terminated. Their next question has become a constant remind of why HR is important.
"How did the employee know they shouldn't drink on the job?"
"Excuse me? It's common sense," was my response.
"But did the employee acknowledge that they shouldn't drink on the job and is it written policy somewhere?"
Que a HUGE eye roll that was enough to probably knock my chair over backwards.
Yes, there's a lot of things that are common sense when it comes to work. Show up on time. Don't steal. Don't come to work on drugs. Don't hit your co-workers. But truthfully, humans are so interesting and unique and the basis for HR is the concept of how can we hold people accountable for something if we don't tell them about it? And in the eyes of a lot of state systems and laws, they view things the same way.
Takeaways: Have clear policies about what's allowed and not allowed in the workplace. If you can't afford to hire someone to create a handbook for you, at least have a few key policies. And always have the employee acknowledge they have received it. Unemployment decided in our favor because we had a policy against drinking at work and a signed acknowledgement from the employee regarding the handbook.