Upon hiring your first employee, human resource experts agree that it is best practice to develop and implement an employment handbook, as it defines expectations and provides significant legal protections. See article titled, “Why Does Your Company Need an Employment Handbook???” for other reasons why having a handbook are important. It is essential for any company to clearly communicate their existing policies and procedures. The best way to do this is to put those policies and procedures in writing in an employment handbook. Additionally, a company should update their policies and procedures, on a regular basis, in accordance with: (i) applicable laws and regulations and (ii) any changes a company makes in its employment practices.
Items to Consider in 2019
Listed below are some of the employment laws/regulations that companies need to consider when reviewing and updating their handbooks to ensure compliance, in 2019, with applicable employment laws and regulations:
- Equal Employment Opportunity - Numerous states, including Ohio, have expanded their anti-discrimination laws beyond the federal jurisdiction, to protect employees. The amended laws include provisions addressing: (i) training on harassment throughout the workplace and (ii) specific protections regarding sexual orientation and gender.
- Reasonable Accommodations – Companies need to consider and address the following accommodations: (i) accommodations for women who are pregnant or breast feeding and (ii) safety procedures for people who have been assaulted or experienced domestic violence.
- Safe Driving – There have been recent changes to state laws that prohibit distracted driving, which could include eating, applying make-up, or talking on the telephone while driving. For any company that requires workers to drive while on the job, their policies should address these changes accordingly.
- Smoke-Free Workplace - In most states, the usage of e-cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are banned from the workplace. Make sure that your employment handbook lists all the correct forms of tobacco that are prohibited, including: (i) electronic cigars; (ii) electronic pipes; and (iii) any similar products that use vaporization.
- Weapons Throughout the Workplace – For years now, employers have adopted workplace violence policies to ensure a safer and more secure workplace. When adopting such policies, every company should ensure that their employment handbook aligns with the amended laws relating to weapons in the workplace, like any concealed carry restrictions.
Nardone HR & Management Consulting (“Nardone Consultants”) advises and represents employers in HR, management, and labor and employment law matters. Tanya is passionate about these matters because she knows that they are critical to all businesses and she enjoys helping companies make sure that their business has a good team in place that is efficient, engaged, productive, and profitable. Nardone Consultants’ goal is to tailor its’ services to meet each client’s needs from providing complete in-house HR and employment compliance support to representing clients in various employment disputes, such as discrimination or harassment charges filed with EEOC or OCRC, or simply assisting with certain HR/employment compliance projects and related legal matters. If your company needs an employment handbook or it needs its current handbook reviewed and updated, or if it wants to discuss any other services, contact Nardone Consultants.