Overview: To create employee handbooks that are effective, employers should include all necessary workplace policies, procedures and practices. In many instances, this policy manual can serve as an employer's best defense in defending any workplace practice or action such as the enforcement of a dress code policy or the investigation of a claim for sexual harassment in the workplace. An employer should ensure that all of the policies in the employee handbook are communicated to all employees and supervisors and that proper training on the policies is provided to the employees. An employer should frequently review the policies in its handbook to see if any need updating based on a change in any law or workplace practice or as the result of a workplace incident which requires clarification of a policy.
Trends: While best practice is to include a disclaimer in the employee handbook in order to prevent it from becoming part of an employment contract, employers should be aware that the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that an overly broad at-will disclaimer in an employee handbook may violate the National Labor Relations Act by infringing upon the rights of both union and non-union employees to engage in a protected concerted activity, i.e., working collectively to improve working conditions. Employers should also be aware that in confronting the diverse workforce of today, it may be necessary for employers to develop handbooks and policies in multiple languages to address employee needs.
Author: Beth Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
This section helps HR professionals manage challenges that come with operating in multiple states, notably complying with differing state and key municipal laws, and addresses the pros and cons of having a centralized or decentralized HR department. Trends currently affecting multistate employers are identified, such as same-sex marriage laws and tracking various state leave laws, are discussed.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Virginia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employment at-will.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Ohio employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to the employment at-will doctrine.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Mississippi employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employment at-will.
The new and updated statements reflect recent legal developments in several states, including California, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Tennessee employers seeking to limit or prohibit weapons in the workplace, prevent workplace violence, provide notice that weapons will not be permitted inside the workplace and show their compliance with Tennessee law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Mississippi employers seeking to show their compliance with Mississippi's prohibition against texting and social networking while driving, to promote driving safety and to limit liability from accidents involving employees who are driving and using electronic devices for work-related purposes or while driving a company-owned vehicle should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
California employers that employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year and who are engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act and should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Table of contents containing links to all the policy statements available for Tennessee, which together combine to form a suggested supplement to an employee handbook.
Kansas employers seeking to educate employees about the availability of military leave and to demonstrate their compliance with Kansas's military leave law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
HR guidance on how to create employee handbooks that includes all employment policies and practices.