POLICIES / HANDBOOKS

New NLRB ruling shows risk of prohibiting 'loud, disrespectful' speech

01/16/2015
During an all-staff meeting at an Amazon.com warehouse in Arizona, an employee loudly voiced concerns about an on-site safety issue. After the meeting, he was called in the HR office and told he spoke too loudly and disrespectfully, both of which violated company policy. The employee countered by saying he had to speak loudly to be heard—and he objected to Amazon’s heavy-handed response.

Add a social media policy to your employee handbook

01/07/2015
Social media represents a fundamental shift in how business is evolving. Employers need to establish clear expectations about what employees can and cannot post.

More than a matter of style: Grooming rules can differ based on sex

12/23/2014
If you have a dress and grooming policy that sets out different rules for men and women, you aren’t necessarily setting yourself up for a sex discrimination lawsuit.

Starbucks customers to see a latte more ink

12/23/2014
In response to employee feedback, Starbucks has changed its employee appearance policy to allow employees to show more of their tattoos.

5 elements of a social media policy that works

12/15/2014
While social media can improve an organization’s image and communication, it can also present risks to companies that don’t have a clear policy defining how employees may use it.

NLRB says employees can use company email to discuss pay, union organizing

12/15/2014

If your organization has a blanket policy that prohibits workers from using the organization’s email for personal matters, it’s time to revise it. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees have the right to use their employer’s email system (during off-duty time) to engage in legally protected communications, including discussing wages and even organizing a union.

Email/Internet Usage

12/15/2014

HR Law 101: Employers have any number of legitimate reasons to monitor employees’ email and Internet usage. Beyond personal productivity issues, you risk significant loss should an employee download a virus or other damaging software or engage in illegal activity conducted on company computers ...

Fast lane to legal liability: Require employees to use their cars for work

12/08/2014

Do you sometimes require em­­ployees to use their personal cars during the workday for job-related tasks like going on appointments, making banking runs or other errands? You’re risking liability if the em­­ployee is in an accident and a jury decides he was negligent.

Disaster and pandemic planning for employers: A primer

12/05/2014
Having even a basic plan in place will help if and when the unthinkable strikes.

Dress Codes

12/01/2014

HR Law 101: Workplace dress codes touch on a variety of issues, including workplace safety, freedom of speech, personal hygiene, customer relations, religious freedom, the minimum wage and racial and gender stereotypes. Employers have a number of legitimate reasons for imposing a dress code, but court rulings have limited their options...

Benefits: Should we put details in the employee handbook or the Summary Plan Description?

11/27/2014
Q. Should a small business employee handbook include a safe-harbor clause under the benefits section for their 401k plan? In the past, the benefits information in the handbook has been limited because it can change so often. Instead, the handbook just points the employee to the summary plan documents.

Bring Your Own Disaster? Delete legal risks with a smart BYOD policy

11/24/2014
Surveys consistently show that employees who work in a flexible workplace are happier and more productive. As a result, BYOD programs have taken off. BYOD programs do, however, come with greater information security concerns and legal risks.

How to weather winter, HR's busiest season

11/19/2014
From establishing inclement weather policies to rethinking year-end bonuses, check out our guide to surviving the cold and the unexpected.

Unwritten rules: Flex benefits depend on informal policies

11/19/2014
Most employers allow some kind of flexible working arrangement. However, that’s often due to casual agreements between bosses and workers. Informal flex deals are more common than formal policies.

Study: Men value work flexibility, too

11/10/2014
For years, conventional wisdom held that women far more than men took advantage of flexible working arrangements to balance work/life responsibilities. Now comes a new study revealing that male employees feel equally empowered to use programs that allow flexibility in how, when and where work happens.
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