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 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 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.
Updated when to include, policy and guidance to reflect amendments to the Fair Employment and Housing Act regulations, effective April 1, 2016.
Updated to reflect the addition of two new handbook statements and the removal of three handbook statements as a result of amendments to the FEHA, effective April 1, 2016. See California EEO, Harassment and Retaliation Prevention.
California employers with five or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more consecutive calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year are covered under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for discrimination and harassment purposes and should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
California employers with fewer than five employees should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
As a result of new amendments to California's Fair Employment and Housing Act regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation prevention policy requirements, two new handbook statements have been added and three handbook statements have been removed.
Updated guidance to include forthcoming expanded protections for national guard members, and revised policy to streamline provisions.
Guidance on creating and implementing HR policies that provide employees and supervisors standards and procedures with which they should comply.