OK to reference handbook in employment contract


Employee handbooks aren’t contracts. In fact, to preserve at-will employment status, we usually recommend including a disclaimer that specifically states: “This handbook does not constitute a contract.” But some key employees do work under the terms of employment contracts, and occasionally it may make sense to incorporate your employee handbook rules into those agreements. Referring to the handbook makes its terms and conditions binding on your contracted workers.

Policies are worthless if they're not communicated

An accountant for the state Depart­­ment of Health will get his job back after Commonwealth Court determined that, contrary to the given reason for his firing, his e-mail was not “combative”, “antagonistic”, or “accusatory.”

Pulled in different directions? Here's how to set your HR priorities


Establishing yourself as a key member of the strategic team requires you to make tough HR decisions and defend them to executives. That’s easier to do after you systematically set priorities for your HR department. Use these seven guidelines to help separate real priorities from perfunctory tasks.

California's 'Yes Means Yes' law takes effect on campuses

As of July 1, California colleges, universities and post-secondary schools are required to bolster their compliance with new state laws regarding policies concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. This new law requires schools to enter into agreements with local law enforcement and report crime statistics.

What the new Texas 'open carry' law means for employers

In March, the Texas Senate passed legislation allowing holders of concealed handgun licenses to carry holstered handguns in plain view. In April, the Texas House of Representatives passed H.B. 910, its version of the “open carry” law.

15 questions to ask when auditing your handbook

It’s good business to review your handbook once a year and revise it as necessary. Answer these questions to gauge its thoroughness and reliability.

Many employees unsure what to do in an emergency

Almost all workers—94%—say they feel safe at work, but 23% aren’t sure they would know what to do if they faced a physically dangerous emergency. That’s what the Harris Poll found this spring when it surveyed more than 3,000 workers from a cross-section of industries.

Children of working moms have a leg up in life

A recent study found a positive correlation between having a mother who worked outside the home and children’s later development and opportunities.

7 steps to protect against electronic sabotage by former employees

Not all terminated employees go quietly. Some rant and rave about unfairness. Others plead for a second chance. So when an employee seemingly accepts his or her termination without protest, employers typically let out a sigh of relief. Not so fast. Just a few taps on the keyboard by a vengeful former employee can cause crippling damage to your workplace.

Technology bites back: The 10 worst productivity killers

Here they are, the digital doings that are slowing you down when they're not speeding you up—plus the analog activities that stifle progress too.

How to limit damage from an employee-turned-competitor

It happens more often than you might think: You find out that one of your employees is preparing to go out on her own or jump ship to join a competitor. Your fear: There go our trade secrets. Here’s how to prevent the problem, or respond to it if it happens.

The HR I.Q. Test: July '15

Here's your monthly quiz on HR trends and issues.

$38.5M in punitive damages to Philly shooting victims

A Philadelphia jury has awarded $38.5 million in punitive damages to the families of two Kraft Food employees who were shot to death by a co-worker in 2010.

Provide clear rules on promotions to prevent failure-to-promote lawsuits


Employers that provide clear rules on what employees must do before being considered for promotions can reduce the possibility of failure-to-promote lawsuits. That’s because employees who don’t follow those clear rules can’t argue they weren’t promoted on account of their membership in a protected class. They lost out because they didn’t follow the rules.

Vendor contracts can cut data breach liability

News that Chinese hackers may have accessed the personnel records of some 14 million federal workers has sent shivers down the spine of the HR industry. It’s a nightmare scenario that could affect almost any workplace. A good contract with your vendor is your best protection against liability.
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