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 threshold, statement and guidance to reflect the ban of discrimination based on the wearing of any religious attire, clothing or facial hair in accordance with religious requirements and amendments to the equal pay law, effective October 8, 2019; and amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law, effective October 11, 2019.
Connecticut employers seeking to demonstrate their commitment to a workplace free of harassment and to comply with Connecticut law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Tennessee employers that want to prevent abusive conduct in the workplace and take advantage of certain protections by adopting an abusive conduct prevention policy that meets certain standards should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Colorado employers seeking to indicate that Colorado employees will receive pay for vacation upon termination of employment should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Updated threshold to include information on a Rhode Island Supreme Court case.
Updated to include the state organ and bone marrow donation leave law, effective October 1, 2019.
Updated to include information regarding provisions of the paid family and medical leave law, effective October 1, 2019.
Updated to reflect developments related to microchip implantation, effective October 1, 2019.
Updated guidance to reflect amendments relating to salary history inquiries and wage discussion and disclosure provisions, effective September 29, 2019.
Updated to reflect forthcoming final overtime rule updating and revising the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption requirements.
Guidance on creating and implementing HR policies that provide employees and supervisors standards and procedures with which they should comply.