Handbooks are a key asset for communicating company policies and promoting fairness and consistency in the workplace, and ever-evolving federal, state and local laws make routinely reviewing and updating handbooks critical for employers.
2018 proved to be a busy year, particularly at the state and local levels as new and amended employment-related laws took effect in 27 states and several key municipalities.
Many of these laws apply to all employers, regardless of size, but some make exceptions for small businesses, so smaller employers may need to verify who counts as an employee under applicable laws. For example, some laws consider temporary, seasonal and part-time workers employees, and others do not.
Employers operating in multiple jurisdictions may have the additional challenge of determining how to best proceed in the face of varying state and local legal requirements.
New compliance requirements speak to such topics as equal employment opportunity (EEO), reasonable accommodations, smoking and leaves of absence.
Here are some of the key state and local issues employers should note when updating their handbooks, as determined by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):
1. Equal Employment Opportunity
2. Reasonable Accomodations
3. Leaves of Absence
4. Equal Pay and Wage Discrimination
5. Safe Driving
6. Smoke-Free Workplace
7. Weapons in the Workplace