Corporate policies and procedures should be updated to reflect company culture and management goals, but also to comply with changes in rules and regulations. If you run a larger business, you likely have an employee handbook. Smaller companies may not have verbose handbooks, but should still have clear policies that are communicated to all employees.
Policies can run the gamut, from paid time off to acceptable behavior expectations. When was the last time your organization updated its handbook or policies? These can seem like minor issues that you can put on hold until you have time (if you’re like me, that will never happen), but no one knows when a serious employment issue may arise. The NLRB frequently makes rule changes and clarifications. (See, for example, NLRB Memo Clarifies Rules for Workplace Social Media Policies.) I think that this link has a good outline of the types of policies that one would put in a handbook.
At a recent event hosted by ALT HR Partners, I was reminded of some of the basics that I am sure many of my clients forget — or for which they don’t have standard procedures. For example, any organization with at least one employee must have a completed form I-9. (This is mandatory, see the requirements and form here.) There is more to this “simple” requirement than many of us realize.
We recommend that, as we approach the Fourth Quarter, you and your teams make it a priority to revisit your company policies and procedures and make revisions where appropriate.
Related to this topic, there have been a few recent developments in the employment law context in New York and North Carolina that may peak your interest.
In New York, there are approaching deadlines of October 9, 2019 (New York state law) and December 31, 2019 (New York City law) for all employers, regardless of size, to have every employee working in New York to complete mandatory sexual harassment prevention training. (Technically, the New York City law only applies to employers with fifteen or more employees or independent contractors.)
The New York State Department of Labor and the New York Division of Human Rights have outlined the requirements for compliance with the state law, and created training videos as well. You can find those and more information at this link. New York City has its own page with great content.
Here in North Carolina, the Administrative Office of the Courts recently opted into an executive order from the Governor’s office which extended parental leave to trial lawyers. Previously, trial lawyers were unable to easily get extensions for court proceedings due to becoming a new parent. Many times, court dates dictated how much time, if any, a trial lawyer could take to welcome a new child. Now, courts are going to give more deference to trial lawyers who ask for extensions for reasons of parental leave. If you want to read more, this article provides a nice summary.