Two prominent human resources lawyers, the senior legal editor for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a legal expert for HR information website ExpertHR, have jointly published an opinion asserting that “cookie-cutter” employee handbooks are no longer practical for many employers, especially those operating in multiple states.
As the basis for their recommendation, they cite the trend toward federal deregulation and the volume of both state and local legislative actions. As detailed in the graphic below, many actions that will render employee handbooks outdated are already occurring.
There were five areas that attorneys Lisa Nagele-Piazza, SHRM-SCP, J.D. and Beth Zoller, J.D. specifically cited as problematic:
- Workplace conduct and social media
- Arbitration agreements
- Sexual harassment
- Parental leave
- Disability and other accommodations
The laws and regulations in all of these areas are subject to interpretation, and employers should consult an attorney for specific questions regarding legality. The point is that the rules around each of these issues is in flux, with officials in the new administration often taking positions significantly different from Obama-era officials and courts.