Want to Read More? To continue reading this article, please Log in or Register Now

How to Update an Employee Handbook for 2019

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

As there continue to be significant legal developments on a federal, state and local level, an employer should always be mindful of how they may affect its workplace and employee handbook. New and amended legal requirements are often complex so it is critical for an employer to understand how it touches upon its handbooks and workplace policies so that it remains compliant with the latest developments.

Whether it be a sweeping new state law or an amendment to an existing local law, an employer must be able to determine whether it affects its handbook and workplace policies and identify what additions or revisions, if any, are necessary. For example, does a new statewide lactation accommodation law prompt the addition of a new policy to the employee handbook? Does an amendment to the local sick and safe leave law prompt an update to the current leave policy? It is, therefore, important for an employer to understand the effect of new compliance requirements on their handbooks.

Below are relevant XpertHR resources, including new and updated Employee Handbook statements, to assist an employer in updating its handbook for 2019. Note that the legal developments addressed below cover laws and regulations that took effect between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.

To update an employee handbook for 2019, an employer should take the following steps.

Step 1: Update Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policies

An employer should always maintain employee handbooks and workplace policies that are compliant with the newest equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. States and municipalities continue to enact new laws that extend employment rights not covered by federal law, e.g., medical marijuana users and those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Employers should also be aware of the rapid movement on a state level to propose and enact sexual harassment prevention laws in response to the growing #MeToo movement.

Based on these developments, an employer should review and revise its employee handbook and EEO policies, including policies on discrimination, harassment and retaliation, to incorporate these protections.

Recent developments that affect EEO-related policies include: