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Policies / Handbooks

Manage a year’s worth of seasonal distractions

Sure. the holidays are over, but here 12 unofficial “holidays” that employees will likely observe in 2014—even if they aren’t on the calendar—and divert their attention from their work.

Age Discrimination: ADEA/OWBPA


HR Law 101: Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, employers with 20 or more workers can’t engage in personnel practices that discriminate against individuals age 40 and older. Most age discrimination cases grow out of wrongful discharge and mandatory retirement policies, but they can involve any adverse change in working conditions …

Possible porn: Can we search computers?

Q. An employee recently complained about re­ceiving inappropriate email messages and links to porno­graphic websites from some of her co-workers. We would like to review the messages to figure out exactly how large a problem we face. Can we do this?

Can we withhold double the cost of unreturned equipment from employee’s final paycheck?

Q. Our employee handbook states, “If you do not return a piece of property we will withhold from your final paycheck the cost of replacing that piece of property.” One of our employees recently quit on the spot. My boss wants to almost double the actual replacement cost of the item. Can we do this?

A hairy problem: Cut biased grooming rules

Here’s a warning about general grooming standards and disciplining employees over their hairstyle choices: Make sure you apply the same standards to all employees and don’t end up forbidding members of a particular protected class to wear hairstyles that are OK for other workers.

Adding an arbitration agreement? Make it retroactive

Are you considering adding an arbitration agreement to your terms and conditions of employment? If you do, make sure the contract includes a retroactive clause that makes arbitration the remedy for past complaints, too.

Deflecting Cupid’s arrow in an environment shaped by #MeToo

With Valentine’s Day on the way, now is an excellent time to reexamine sexual harassment policies.

Want to stay out of court? Here are 10 basic rules HR must follow

While lawsuits may be practically inevitable in today’s litigious society, losing them is not. Use the following 10 rules to prevent the most common employment-related lawsuits—or at least increase your chances of winning them.

Workplace lexicon: Head shunting

“Head shunting” defined: Secretly hiring a head hunter to woo an ineffective employee and shepherd him or her through a job search culminating in placement elsewhere.

Wrap up 2013 right: What to check in your annual HR policy review

Now’s a good time to review employment policies and practices in light of the government’s aggressive efforts to enforce employment laws. To ensure compliance, review your policies and practices in all these areas.