Tag Archives: Employee Handbooks

For 2015 – Employee Policies to Review

13 Dec

I encourage you to take fresh look at your employee policies or Employee Handbook, or have an employment attorney or human resources professional review them for you, because there are some important areas of change for 2015.
1. Equal Employment Opportunity – take the time to list all of the protected classifications in your handbook . The California Fair Employment and Housing Council is considering amendments to its regulations regarding California discrimination laws, including a requirement that employers list all “protected classes” or basis for discrimination in a written policy. This is a good idea as it helps protect the employer and educated your managers and supervisors. The list
would be: race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion including religious attire and religious related hair styles, beard, etc., sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding and related medical conditions), physical and mental disability, age (40 and older), genetic information and privacy of medical records, marital status, sexual orientation and identity including gender expression, veteran status, medical condition including AIDS/HIV, political activities or affiliations. Also protected are whistle blower status, protection from being required to give access to Social Media sites, protection from denial of family and medical care leave, and protection from unfair immigration related employment practices.

2- Anti-Harassment Policy – also take the time to clearly state it is against company policy for anyone to engage in abusive behavior to one of your employees. In the past, most anti-harassment policies focused on sexual harassment or perhaps also prohibited harassment based on other “protected classifications” of employees covered by equal employment laws. In 2015, employers are expected to train supervisors and managers on how to prevent abusive behavior in the workplace. Since it is very clear that abusive behavior is harmful to productivity, causes employee turnover, and is undesirable in the workplace, now is the time to clearly state it is also against company policy.
3- Other Policies. Of course our team at Don Dressler Consulting suggests an annual review of employee policies and handbooks, particularly now with so much activity at both the California and Federal level affecting employee benefits and human resources. A key example is the coming July 1, 2015 California law requiring paid sick leave for all employees. Don’t be mislead by the July 1, 2015 effective date! New employment posters including reference to this law are required as of Jan. 1, 2015 as are notices to new hired “hourly employees” based on the Labor Code Section 2810.5 notice.(The Wage Theft Protection Act). Please notice that we recommend a different format with additional information to protect your company rather than you just using the “official” form from the CA Department of Industrial Relations.
Every single client I have worked with on how to adapt to this new paid sick leave law has had to change their existing policies – and no company has the same problems as another. Allow yourself time to learn about this new law, how it affects you and what it will cost. We can help you design a policy to meet your needs and comply with the law.
If we can help with these or other human relations, safety or workers’ compensation issues, contact our team at Don Dressler Consulting. Email me at dondressler1@hotmail.com.

Don’t Let FMLA Leave Cause You Problems

5 May

Employers with 50 or more employees, (for 20 workweeks in the current calendar year or the preceding calendar year) are covered by the Federal Family Medical Leave Act – and in California are also regulated by the state’s California Family Rights Act. Both laws require eligible employees to be given time off under certain circumstances without pay for their own illness, caring for family members, and certain other situations. While the leave generally is for up to 12 weeks maximum within a one year period, the employer is obligated to continue the employee’s participation in group health insurance on the same basis as if work had continued..
Recently employers have experienced problems when they felt employees were out on leave for too long a period of time, or the employee was absent without notification to the employer.
An employer can protect themselves from many of these difficulties, but only if:
1. The required FMLA poster is displayed, and the poster was recently updated by the US Department of Labor effective March 8, 2013.
2. Notice about FMLA and requirements of the employer are provided to employees, most effectively done by a well written section in an Employee Handbook
3. When an employee requests time off – notification of approval or denial of FMLA leave and FMLA rights must be provided. This is an area many employers fail to observe.
4. You also should have a “no call/no show = voluntary quit” policy so employees who do not follow procedures and call in on time when they are going to be absent from work are treated as having quit their job. Courts have upheld this rule,
A copy of the latest FMLA poster, as well as model forms for the required notices are available at the US Department of Labor’s website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla