Author: Melissa Fleischer, HR Learning Center

Summary

  • Diversity and inclusion are important goals for employers from both a public relations standpoint as well as a legal perspective. See Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Employers should provide diversity training to supervisors and employees so that they understand the importance of diversity, the best practices for achieving diversity and best practices for communicating the goal of diversity in the workplace. See Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Equal employment opportunity is the cornerstone of effective employee management. It is also essential for an employer in order to ensure compliance with laws regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation against employees in protected classes. See Equal Employment Opportunity.
  • Discrimination reaches across all employment decisions that management makes including hiring, promotions, discipline, leave of absences and termination. See Equal Employment Opportunity.
  • Employers should make sure that all employment-related decisions are based on legitimate business-related reasons and are not discriminatory and based on unlawful factors. See Equal Employment Opportunity.
  • Harassment in the workplace is one of the most important legal issues that employers need to be aware of in order to avoid legal liability. Harassment in the workplace includes sexual harassment as well as harassment based on all the protected classes under both state and federal law. See Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment.
  • Communicating with employees is essential for employers as it advises employees of the employer's expectations and creates a cooperative working relationship. See Communicating With Employees.
  • An employee handbook and well-drafted employment policies, work rules and procedures are essential in communicating rights, obligations, goals and objectives to employees as well as protecting an employer in the face of future litigation. See Employee Handbooks, Work Rules and Policies.
  • Employee handbooks should contain many important policies including an employment-at-will policy, policies regarding EEO, discrimination, harassment, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasonable accommodation policy, compensation polices as well as policies regarding employee benefits, leaves and time off. See Employee Handbooks, Work Rules and Policies.
  • Training and development of both employees and supervisors is not only recommended, but it is a necessity for employers today. It is essential so that employees and supervisors not only understand basic skills needed for their jobs, but also understand how to avoid discrimination and harassment in the workplace, ensure a safe workplace, comply with the employment discrimination laws and leave of absence laws such as the FMLA and the ADA, as well as comply with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and laws that cover unions in the workplace. See Training and Development.
  • Employers should also institute supervisory training so that supervisors understand the best practices for disciplining and terminating employees as well as understand their obligations to ensure compliance with federal and state laws that affect the workplace. See Training and Development.
  • Managing employee performance is important for employers and includes a critical understanding of how to prepare employee appraisals, evaluations, performance reviews and how to award promotions. See Managing Employee Performance.
  • Performance reviews and appraisals should be written accurately to represent the employee's true performance level. Employee evaluations need to be able to be used as a tool by the employee to improve their performance as well as a basis for the employer to justify management decisions including promotions, discipline and terminations. See Performance Reviews and Appraisals.
  • It is important for employers to maintain accurate records in the workplace in order to minimize liability and safeguard the rights of the employer and employees. See Recordkeeping.
  • Privacy is a primary concern for employers in today's world of electronic communication and virtual workplaces. It is important for employers to balance the privacy rights of employees against the employer's right to monitor and maintain the workplace as well as employee conduct and activities during working hours. See Monitoring Employee Conduct and Employee Privacy in the Workplace.
  • Employers should exercise caution when disciplining employees and make sure that employees are disciplined in a uniform manner. See Disciplining Employees.
  • Employers should have an understanding of whistleblowing in the workplace and maintain policies to prevent retaliation against whistleblowers. See Whistleblowing in the Workplace.
  • Legal compliance and understanding the applicable federal laws and regulations that govern an employer's workplace is essential for effective employee management and to minimize employer liability. See Employer Liability and Legal Compliance and Review of Key Federal Laws
  • Employers should be aware of the key laws that affect the workplace. These include, but are not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the ADA, the FMLA, and the Equal Pay Act (EPA). See Legal Compliance and Review of Key Federal Laws.