There are likely several updates and enhancements that you could choose to make to your employee handbook this year, but in the interest of time and importance, we offer two that we think are key. (For a list of ten suggested updates from HR Magazine, click here.)
#1 – Retaliation
If you’re a witness to a workplace injury or sexual harassment incident, you cannot be retaliated against for reporting what you saw. Your company’s employee handbook should specifically state that the organization does not tolerate retaliation, which, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is the most common charge against employers. The handbook should also clarify that the employer cannot promise confidentiality for people who file retaliation complaints. They should know that their name may be revealed on a “need-to-know” basis.
#2 – Nonexempt Overtime
With the proliferation of employees using their own devices for business, the issue of overtime for nonexempt employees is a bit clouded. In a time when everyone carries a smart phone, work can be done at any time of day – or night. When nonexempt employees take calls or check email on their phones after work hours, employers need to ensure that they are being paid for that time. Federal law is clear that if employees work additional time outside of normal hours, they must be paid for that work. Your employee handbook should state that employees may not work overtime, including checking job-related emails or making business calls on their devices, without advance permission from their managers. It should also be clear that managers may discipline employees who work unapproved overtime.