• The HR Specialist - Print Newsletter
  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
  • The HR Weekly
  • California Employment Law
  • New York Employment Law
  • Texas Employment Law

Policies / Handbooks

Set policies to rein in 4 holiday headaches

The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day typically finds employees distracted, absent or doing things that require extra HR scrutiny. Head off problems by anticipating them and clarifying your policies.

Trade Secrets


HR Law 101: There are two important reasons you need to protect your company’s trade secrets: (1) You make it less likely that confidential information will be misappropriated. (2) It will be easier for you to seek relief in court if your secrets are stolen …  


From locker room to boardroom, NFL scandal heightens bullying awareness

Thanks to several high-profile news stories lately, your employees are becoming more aware of the pervasiveness of workplace bullying—plus the potential legal options that bullied workers can take. What does this mean for HR?

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?