Overview: It is important for employers to develop and institute a comprehensive set of HR policies and procedures to guide the conduct of both employees and supervisors in the workplace and protect both employers and employees. Standard policies and procedures also ensure that similar situations are dealt with in a consistent manner and the employer's business runs efficiently. The workplace policies and procedures should be memorialized and may be provided in the employee handbook or other document given to employees and/or supervisors.
An employer may want to develop different HR policies and procedures for different groups of employees depending on the department that they work in, whether or not the employee is part of a union, and whether or not the employee is an exempt or non-exempt employee. Workplace policies and procedures may cover such varied topics as discrimination and harassment, social media use, employee benefits, compensation, employee discipline, affirmative action, FMLA and employee leave. While workplace rules provide employees with standards of conduct that must be followed, policies and procedures are usually more formal and provide supervisors and management with a standard manner of handling frequent situations. Workplace policies and procedures should also carefully lay out the consequences and discipline that employees and supervisors may be subject to for violating a workplace policy.
Trends: Employers should be aware that changes in society, technology and the law may require employers to revise existing policies and create new ones. We live in a society in which our technology and the way we connect with others in changing rapidly. As a result, employers must constantly revisit their policies with respect to electronic communications and social media use. Employment policies on employee benefits and compensation also may need to be frequently updated based on changes in the law. Further, based on the fact that the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act significantly expanded the definition of an individual with a qualified disability, workplace policies regarding managing employees with disabilities should also be reviewed and revised on a frequently basis.
Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
Updated to include a state supreme court decision discussing the narrow scope of public policy exceptions for the wrongful discharge of an at-will employee.
Illinois employers that provide personal sick leave benefits to their employees and that seek to inform employees of their right under the Employee Sick Leave Act (ESLA) to use accrued, available sick leave for the injury, illness or medical appointment of a family member should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Updated to include forthcoming amendment relating to the smoking of marijuana in the workplace.
Updated to include forthcoming military leave law amendments.
California employers that have employees working in San Jose and have 36 or more employees seeking to educate part-time employees about additional hours of work that may be available to them and to show their compliance with San Jose's Opportunity to Work Ordinance should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Updated to include delayed effective date of antidiscrimination and employment law provisions of recreational marijuana law.
Updated to reflect forthcoming amendments to data breach security notification law.
Updated to reflect law regarding weapons in the workplace, effective March 21, 2017.
Guidance on creating and implementing HR policies that provide employees and supervisors standards and procedures with which they should comply.