An employee handbook provides communication between employer and employee as to the rights and responsibilities of each party. It is the basis for the terms and conditions of the relationship
On June 6th newly appointed General Counsel to the National Labor Relations Board, Peter B. Robb, issued comprehensive new guidance on employee handbook provisions. The guidelines direct the Board's Regional Directors throughout the country to reverse course from years of decisions issued by the Board majority appointed by then President Obama. Under the Obama Board numerous workplace rules commonly found in employee handbooks, were declared unlawful. Specifically, a long line of NLRB decisions considered many standard provisions interfered with or restrained employees in exercising their right to engage in "concerted activities" protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. The rationale used to justify such an extraordinary expansion of a labor law that has existed since 1947, was based on a hypothetical question: "could" employees interpret a given handbook provision to tamp down their right to strike, or to join together in protest of wages or other terms and conditions of employment? All too often the Board answered this hypothetical question in the affirmative, declaring basic workplace rules on civility, confidentiality, misconduct, etc. violated employee rights. These decisions - and the vague, hypothetical theory on which they were based - left employers in the dark as to what they could include in their employee handbooks without breaking the law. Thankfully, the new guidelines restore the rights of employers to maintain reasonable work rules.
Beware Illinois employers! Just because a policy is in or not in your employee handbook does not make it legal under employment laws.
The Golden Rule about Promises in an Employee Handbook...When you consider what to promise your employees, hold back on any and all promises unless you really feel a certain promise is absolutely essential and you are 100% certain you can always deliver on the promise. If you can't, delete it from your Employee Handbook unless it is required by law.
If you are a sports fan, professional or collegiate, you know what time of the year it is - the NFL started on September 8, 2016 with Carolina vs. Denver; in a few weeks, Major League Baseball will start its Playoff Season with a trip to the World Series; College Football is in full force and the National Hockey League will begin shortly. What does this mean to an Employer? An Employer with a "blind eye to sports" risks running into a lot of potential problems and issues with its Employee complement.
The death of a child is a very traumatic event for a parent. The grieving process is a difficult one. Federal law does not provide a leave of absence for this purpose. Most employers only provide employees a three day period for bereavement/funeral leave for the death of a child.
Pokémon Go has taken the United States and the rest of the world by storm with an estimated 75 million downloads in the first three (3) weeks of its release. For the uninitiated (like the author), Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game, where users try to capture, train, and battle digitally animated creatures on their mobile devices. The author has more than enough trouble battling real life creatures than delving into animated adversaries!
Company policies are usually designed to set the standards an employer expects employees to follow with regard to their activities and employment related matters. Due to many changes in the law, it is suggested that the following steps be taken by every employer when dealing with their company policies: