Handbooks: Time to Update

Image 2(This post was written by Rick Dacri on September 16, 2013)

Changes in the laws, along with legal and regulatory changes, make it important that you take a comprehensive look at your employee handbooks and policy manuals. It may be time to make revisions or add new policies.

While there is not a fixed time to review your handbook, an annual audit is a good standard unless you have recently changed internal company procedures, benefits, pay or working conditions or there have been compliance changes that will impact your workforce and business.

While not an exhaustive look, I wanted to outline some of the key issues I have found when I have reviewed some of my client’s handbooks and policy manuals:

  1. Policies  do not reflect actual practices.
  2. Social media polices either do not exist or do not reflect the mandates handed down by the NLRB. It must be noted, even if you are not unionized, you must comply with the NLRB.
  3. Employee handbook receipts are too broad. Again, these recent NLRB findings now necessitate revising the receipt to simply state, “I acknowledge receipt of the handbook” and nothing more.
  4. Benefit changes are not reflected in the handbook and handbooks and benefit plan documents are not consistent.
  5. Sexual harassment policies do not make clear that employees will not be retaliated against for raising claims of harassment or discrimination.
  6. FMLA polices do not reflect the amendments providing leaves for qualified exigency or for serious illnesses or injury of a covered service member.
  7. Policies are in place prohibiting employees from discussing wages, hours, benefits, working conditions and treatment by supervisors. None of these acts can be prohibited.
  8. Changes in many state laws around concealed weapons should be noted in your handbook and may now require modifications to existing polices on weapons in the workplace and workplace violence polices.
  9. Changes in state laws on the use of medical marijuana may requires changes in you drugs in the workplace policy.
  10. Break time for nursing mothers and appropriate areas for lactating should be included in your handbook.

Review your handbook to ensure that it and all your polices address state and federal laws, regulatory changes and court findings as well as your internal company procedures and guidelines. Bring in outside expertise to ensure that you are in compliance. Once completed, make the appropriate changes, train your supervisors around the changes and brief your employees. Do this annually.

If you need help reviewing your polices and handbook or if you need to develop a handbook, I can help you. Call me or click Dacri & Associates.

If this post was helpful, you may want to also read these posts:

  1. Surveillance Cameras: Can I Watch My Employees?
  2. Maine Allows Concealed Weapons in Employees Vehicles
  3. Medical Marijuana Law


Filed under Compliance

2 responses to “Handbooks: Time to Update

  1. Pingback: New Maine Law Restricts Social Media Access | Uncomplicating Management

  2. Pingback: How To Handle Employee’s Fighting & Arguing | Uncomplicating Management

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