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Policies / Handbooks

Unclear rules could warrant unemployment benefits

Someone who is fired for breaking a workplace rule isn’t entitled to unemployment benefits. That’s because rule-breaking is misconduct. But if the rule is unclear, all bets are off.

Immediately apply your policy to stop harassment before it escalates

An effective sexual harassment policy that includes prompt investigation of any complaints of physical touching is key to prevailing in a sexual harassment lawsuit. What should your policy include?

Is it illegal to tell male employees to shave?

Private employers have the right to set their own dress and grooming codes. That can include setting limits on employees’ facial hair unless an employee can’t shave because of a documented medical condition or due to a religious requirement.

Online reviews: Warn workers to avoid ‘Astroturfing’

Make sure employees know that it’s not just bad form to write fake customer reviews about your company online—it could be illegal. New York’s attorney general last month cracked down on 19 companies that created deceptive reviews (a process called “Astroturfing”).

5 steps you must take to prevent and address sexual harassment

In 2012, the EEOC received 7,571 complaints from workers alleging they were sexual harassment victims (17.8% of whom were men) and recovered $43 million for har­­assed workers. Don’t let your organization add to those statistics. Take these steps to prevent and address sexual harassment.

Vague or nonexistent harassment policy? In same-sex cases, prepare to pay

Judges don’t have much patience with employers that don’t understand their obligations to prevent or stop sexual harassment, including same-sex harassment.

Draft severance agreements to prevent future lawsuits

Have a lawyer draft any release that accompanies a severance payment. If the employee sues and the release was carefully written, the court will probably say it bars suing—and may require repaying severance money before the worker can even try challenging the release’s validity.

Save money upon termination by including ‘use it or lose it’ leave policy in handbook

Here’s another reason your hand­­book must include clear, concise and specific explanations of vacation and other leave policies: By carefully explaining that em­­ployees who quit forfeit unused leave, you won’t have to pay them for that un­­used time under the North Caro­­lina Wage and Hour Act.

What are the limits on employee monitoring?

Q. How would an employer legally go about monitoring employees in the workplace?

Employer restrictions on guns in California workplaces

This month, we’ll examine several questions about how far employers can go toward prohibiting employees from bringing guns to work.