End of year is not only a good time to close out yearly reports and accounting, but to also look forward to preparing your business for needs in the new year. One of the most important areas to address regarding compliance and legal risks is your Employee Handbook.
However, many businesses may find the details and confusing changes to regulations hard to manage, putting them at risk of being out of compliance for key legal issues. In order to ensure companies are meeting all requirements, Snapp and Associates clients have access to a step-by-step guided Handbook Builder through the agency’s work with ThinkHR.
Each year there are countless changes to both state and federal regulations that may dramatically impact your company’s risk exposure. For example, in California effective January 1, 2019:
- Employers now expressly may be liable for any type of harassment (not just sexual harassment) committed by non-employees
- A single incident of harassing conduct can be enough to create a hostile work environment if the harassing conduct has unreasonably interfered with a plaintiff’s work performance or created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. This is perhaps the most significant modification of the “severe or pervasive” standard.
- A single stray discriminatory remark, even if not made directly in the context of an employment decision, or even if made by an employee who is not responsible for making decisions about a plaintiff’s employment, may be relevant, circumstantial evidence of discrimination and harassment.
Were you aware of these changes and are you ready to deal with the impact these changes may have on your business? Trying to independently stay on top of legal changes makes your Employee Handbook as full of holes as Swiss Cheese.
So how do you keep your Employee Handbook the strong tool you need it to be? Using an automated tool provides several advantages:
1. You can minimize your overall risk of employment liability with clearly communicated, regulatory compliant policies.
2. Even with an HR person in-house, legal regulation compliance is one of the hardest areas to keep a handle on. A real-time updated tool can reduce the strain on your staff with pre-developed content, step-by-step instructions, expert commentary and online support.
3. Instead of spending countless hours trying to compile all current regulations and ensure they stay accurate, an integrated handbook builder will allow you to deliver a current, comprehensive, compliant handbook quickly to all employees without cutting corners.
Don’t forget about “custom” policies unique to your company; For example, if you allow pets in the office, what are the terms and restrictions? Are there limitations on the size or breed of the pet? Does the owner need to provide proof of vaccinations before the animal can be brought on property?
Even something as simple as a pet policy can become a flashpoint for risk management. Custom policy modules in tools like the ThinkHR Employee Handbook builder give you the resources needed to put a firm policy in place and also provide guidance with a team of HR professionals on call to create the policy that best meets your needs.
Before you close the books on 2018, take a few minutes to review your procedures for maintaining and updating your Employee Handbook — Stepping up to an automated builder tool may be the best New Year’s Resolution your business can make to ensure compliance and protection in real time, throughout the year!