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
The US Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a 6th Circuit decision upholding state bans on same-sex marriage. A ruling is expected by June.
The Vermont employee handbook policy statements and associated "when to include" and "employer guidance" for each policy are now live and have been added to the new Employee Handbooks Tool.
Vermont employers seeking to explain how the handbook and supplement should be read together and that neither the handbook nor the supplement alter an employee's at-will status should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Vermont employers with one or more employees should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Vermont employers with more than five employees seeking to demonstrate their commitment to a workplace free of harassment and to comply with the Vermont law requiring distribution of a written policy describing the process for filing internal complaints and setting forth the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the person or persons to whom complaints should be reported, as well as contact information for the state and federal government agencies that receive such complaints should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Vermont employers seeking to show their compliance and support for Vermont law which requires that employers provide unpaid break time and reasonable locations for employees to express breast milk should consider including this model policy statement in a Vermont supplement.
Vermont employers seeking to educate supervisors about the need to provide reasonable break opportunities, to inform employees about their rights with regard to using bathroom facilities during work and to demonstrate compliance with Vermont law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Vermont employers seeking to emphasize compliance with, and educate their workforces about this law, should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Vermont employers with between 15 and 49 employees who work an average of at least 30 hours per week and that seek to demonstrate that they offer both parental and family leave under Vermont's Parental and Family Leave Act (VPFMLA) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Vermont employers with 50 or more employees that seek to demonstrate that they offer leave under both the Vermont Parental and Family Leave Act (VPFMLA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Legal considerations for employers regarding managing employees through HR. Employee management tips and support for the human resources professional.