Keep Your Employee Handbook Updated
Especially in California, every company, regardless of industry and size, should have an employee handbook to help guide their employees’ behavior and protect them from potential lawsuits such as a wrongful termination. Make sure these important policies are included in every employee handbook. GDI Insurance Agency Inc. has built out extensive Human Resource programs that include employment handbooks, Onboarding Toolkits, and OSHA documentation, that is included for all of our clients at no additional cost.
Make Sure You Include These Items In Your Employee Handbook
- At Will Employment – Employers can destroy the at-will employment relationship through promises made in an employee handbook. Including this policy in handbook reinforces the at-will nature of employment. It should also state that the handbook is not a contract and may change at any time.
- Equal Employment Opportunity– This policy should comply with national (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, etc.), state, and local anti-discrimination laws. Include protections based on race, religion, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military service, and other protected categories such as marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender status.
- Pay and Hours of Work – An employer’s pay practices, including when the workweek begins and ends, payroll periods, and deductions from pay, should be included. The policy should include overtime rules such as when nonexempt employees are entitled to work overtime and any pre-approval procedures that are required.
- Family and Medical Leave – Employers subject to FMLA must inform employees of their eligibility and rights under the act. Include whether employees need to exhaust paid time off before taking FMLA leave, that benefits will continue during leave, and that they may resume the same or equivalent job when they return. Also include other company requirements, such as medical certification or notice requirements, and any applicable state and local leave rules.
- Safety – The safety section of the handbook should affirm the company’s commitment to their employees to provide a safe and healthy work environment. It will vary by industry, but it should align with the OSHA requirements that apply to the company, including health and safety policies, emergency preparedness plans, and equipment safety and use guidelines.
- Attendance and Tardiness – Employers may use a range of procedures for attendance, but it’s important to lay out the company’s guidelines and expectations for how much notice is required, who to report absences or tardiness to, and disciplinary actions that may be taken if procedures are not followed.
- Standard of Conduct – Employees look to the organization to provide them with the “rules of the road” for workplace behavior. Policies should include organizational rules to help employees understand what is expected of them while at work and what behaviors may result in disciplinary action.
- Anti-Harassment – This policy should be comprehensive, effective, and realistic. It should define harassment, set forth avenues for reporting it up through the executive level or board of directors if the boss is the alleged harasser, and offer a degree of confidentiality and support. It also needs to include an anti-retaliation
statement. It’s important this policy reach beyond sexual harassment to include people in every protected category.
- Internet and Electronic Communication – A well-drafted policy reminds employees that company computers and networks exist for business purposes and not for personal activities. It should clearly state that there is no expectation of privacy on work computers and security is not guaranteed.
- Military Leave – This policy should inform employees of their right to unpaid military leave under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, including their right to elect to continue health plan coverage for up to 24 months.
GDI Insurance Agency Inc. Your Trusted Insurance Broker
Learn how you can offer your company the protection of a fully compliant, federal and state handbook. Contact us today at 1-888-991-2929.
Can a employee be suspended without a warning
This is a question for an attorney specializing in HR in your state.
Generally it is dictated by your employee handbook, which should follow our states guidelines, which again I can’t stress enough should be approved by your HR attorney.
At will employment allows for termination and gross violations of safety, procedures or criminal activity all seem reasonable reasons for immediate dismissal. Suspension as you mention is different issue with its own set of rules.
I can tell you that we here at GDI do nothing without checking with our hr attorney. While it does cost a bit to run everything like this question by your HR attorney. It is worth in that you will be treating everyone fairly! Which is the heart of all HR programs. Also should you have to take corrective action you will do so properly and fairly. Lastly it is really inexpensive if you consider what might happen if you did do something incorrectly.
Also a key is to also have the right coverage in case it does go sideways. EPLI = employment practice liability insurance with wage hour coverage is the backbone of your defense and security when dealing with employment issues. While EPLI may offset the financial burden there is alway added stress and loss of productivity as well as a potential negative impact on your other staff.
I am sorry but there is no one answer, or solution. If I may share my thought is HR is one of the most important parts of your business. It is your employees that make most business’s great or not!.. Lastly if you have a troubling employee one bad apple, can, does and will spoil the whole bunch so to fix whatever is happening. But do it under the guidance of a HR Attorney.