03 May Best way to distribute Policies and Rules
My students ask me, “Attorney, what’s the best way to distribute the policies I’ve written at work?”
Well, the best way depends on how your company is set up. Different companies do it in different ways, but there is one underlying principle that governs them all… can you prove that the policy was distributed and received? That’s it. If you can prove distribution and receipt, it doesn’t matter how you go about it.
Why go thru all the trouble
We are trying to avert the situation wherein an employee disobeys a policy, then when you are ready to apply the penalty, he or she comes up with the defense that “I did not know it was prohibited in the first place.”
Let’s get some examples
Let’s tackle some common ways of distribution so you can get ideas from them.
Some companies print out paper versions of each policy and distribute it to employees. The best practice here should be to retain a receiving copy where all the employees then sign. Or in the alternative, you can have the receiving copy circulated, and after each person has read it, they sign and return it to the office.
Bulletin Board postings
You can print out a single copy of the policy and post it on the bulletin board for everyone to see. Pro is that you only have to print a single copy. Con is it may be harder to prove that everyone had access to this. From experience in proving distributions, this should just be a supplementary method. You need to employ one of the other ones as a primary means of distribution.
Email and Digital Bulletin Boards
You can send out memos if you have an I.T. personnel make sure that you have read-received notification trackers on your email enabled. These methods are now acceptable forms of evidence under the Revised Electronic Evidence Rules.
These are just examples. I’m sure there are other variations of these for other companies. Again, it does not matter as long as you can prove that the policy was distributed and received. You may use each of these alone or in combination with each other, all with the objective of documenting the distribution and the receipt.