Overview: Effectively managing employees requires many things from HR. Employee management has many areas of concern. First and foremost, it is critical to draft and implement employee handbooks as well as workplace rules and policies. This sets ground rules for employee conduct and behavior and ensures consistency and uniformity when faced with common workplace issues. With employers under constant scrutiny, it is important to maintain and enforce policies against employee discrimination and harassment and guarantee compliance with equal employment opportunity laws. Employers should also make sure that they know how to properly respond to employee request for leave and time off from work as well as evaluate employee performance and determine advancement and promotion opportunities.
Other challenges employers may be faced with when managing a workforce include monitoring employee activity while protecting the employee right to privacy, providing training to supervisors and employees at all levels, and communicating with employees regarding workplace issues, employer expectations and discipline.
Trends: Federal, state and municipal laws are expanding equal employment opportunity laws to caregivers, pregnant women, transgender workers and others. There is also a growing movement among the states to pass legislation aimed at combating workplace bullying and ensure a healthy workplace.
Further, with an increase in employee use of the internet and social media, there are two issues employers should be keenly aware of. There is a move for legislation to prevent employers from requiring that employees and applicants provide their user names and passwords to social media networks. Second, the NLRB has shown that it is willing to strike down common workplace policies regarding social media, employee communications, investigations and confidentiality claiming such policies interfere with the right of union and non-union employees to engage in protected concerted activity.
Author: Beth Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
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