Overview: In order to effectively manage employees and supervisors, employers should develop a set of work rules to govern conduct at work. These work rules can be conveyed in an employee handbook or personnel manual as well as through memos to employees and supervisors and other forms of communication. Work rules may address attendance and tardiness, dress codes, grooming and personal appearance, workplace violence, political activity, gambling, workplace dating and nepotism, the use of employer provided equipment and vehicles, monitoring of electronic communications and social media use, harassment, prohibited conduct, moonlighting and off duty conduct, and leaves and time off from work. It is necessary for employers to institute rules to ensure that employees and supervisors receive fair and consistent treatment in frequently encountered situations. Employers should make sure that employees have a clear understanding of the work rules and expectations of behavior as this will serve as a defense for the employer if issues arise.
Trends: Employers should understand that certain work rules are required based on federal, state or local law. For example, it is generally advisable and in some states even required for employers to institute a work rule that harassment is strictly prohibited. Further, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) as well as complementary state law require that employers implement work rules that will address employee safety and security as well as workplace violence. Employers should be aware of these requirements and make sure to comply with their legal obligations.
Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
The US Department of Labor (DOL) has released an Employer Guide to assist employers in complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and a new version of the FMLA workplace poster.
Updated guidance to reflect the Seattle Office of Labor Standards Enforcement's delayed enforcement of some of the new requirements until September 30, 2016.
Updated guidance to include information on a Mississippi Supreme Court case addressing wrongful discharge for the storage of a firearm in a locked vehicle.
Updated to reflect forthcoming military leave law amendments.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming paid family leave benefits requirements.
Updated policy and guidance to reflect the Civil Air Patrol Employment Protection Act. See Michigan Civil Air Patrol Leave.
Michigan employers with one or more employees seeking to educate employees who qualify about the availability of leave for Civil Air Patrol missions and to demonstrate compliance with the law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
As a result of Michigan's new Civil Air Patrol Employment Protection Act, handbook statements have been added and updated in the Michigan employee handbook.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming bone marrow and organ donation leave law.
Updated to include forthcoming requirements regarding post-termination restrictive covenants and notice-posting requirements.
HR guidance on implementing work rules that effectively address employer objectives and provide employees and supervisors with guidance as to acceptable and unacceptable workplace conduct.