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Policies / Handbooks

Stormy weather: How to pay when Old Man Winter causes absences


When harsh winter weather bumps up against the FLSA, the result can be a blizzard of pay problems for you. Employees often come in late, leave early or miss work altogether. How should you count their hours—and their pay? Here’s a flowchart that breaks down your options.

Ensure computer policy is clear: No using tech for nonbusiness purposes

Here’s good news you can use to warn employees against misusing company computers and other technology for their own benefit, to compete or to commit fraud: Employees can’t argue that because they received the equipment to use, they are authorized to access information for purposes unrelated to business.

Avoid needless reference to culture differences

There is a fine line between a rational discussion of cultural differences and stereotyping. If you are tempted to educate employees on appropriate workplace behavior, stick with a straightforward description of what behaviors you want to see, not how they differ from other cultural norms.

Oh, no! B.O.! Is body odor a disability? Plus, 7 tips for having ‘the talk’

By itself, excessive body odor is not generally considered a disability under the ADA. However, if employees tell you the odor is a symptom of a serious health condition, you should follow your normal ADA procedures.

Don’t let handbook create a contract

Here are two easy steps to prevent your employee handbook from turning into a binding contract.

Can we ban e-cigarettes?

Q. Over the past few months I have been seeing more and more electronic cigarettes in our city. Last week, an employee walked into our office while smoking an electronic cigarette. I’d like to ban their use in our offices. I’ve heard that e-cigarettes are just as addictive as the real things.

What should we do about email still on former employee’s company-issued cellphone?

Q. We give our employees company phones. An employee recently resigned and turned in her phone to her supervisor, in compliance with our technology policy. A week later, it came to my attention that the supervisor had not deleted the departed employee’s email that was still on the phone. A new hire who had been issued the phone could read those messages. What should we do?

Weigh pros, cons of surveillance in wired workplace

As technology becomes more and more intrusive, today’s employees naturally wonder how far their employers can pry. Carefully weigh whether any form of employee surveillance is right for your organization. 

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?