A fair number of the cases that I deal with at LeifLaw are, unfortunately, matters where a studio could have avoided liability, ill-will, and other drama and negativity simply by having a clear set of employee expectations outlined in an employee handbook. Sadly, many studios either neglect this, or leave it to untrained HR-types to guess at work that really ought to be done by an attorney. Below, I'm going to discuss some policies that a game development studio -- or any small business --really ought to have in their employee handbook.
Of course, these aren't the only policies you need. Now that some states are legalizing or decriminalizing the usage of recreational marijuana, an alcohol and drug policy should be put into place. You should have policies outlining who is in charge of administering disciplinary action at the studio, and on what grounds (and to whom) the employee can appeal such action. You should have time/attendance policies. You may not need a strict dress code, but putting in some sort of boundaries may not be a bad idea. Policies on how to deal with the press/media, friends and family beta testing, etc., all things that ought to be in a good solid employee handbook. Yes, you may end up with a fairly substantial document but you'll be able to point to that document whenever a question comes up and simply counter "What does the handbook say?"
LeifLaw attorneys are familiar with the drafting of employee handbooks, and know the games industry and the quirks that go into the operation of a game studio. Contact us today for a free consultation
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