HR Management & Compliance

The Importance of Creating—and Following—Workplace Policies

Yesterday, guest blogger Drenna D. Shive, PHR, talked about the importance of training your managers to help prevent lawsuits. Today—why your policies are crucial.

Shive is a corporate HR manager at RHC Holding Corp.

Create a Clear and Concise Policy

Employers that implement strong measures to prevent and address employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation will avoid some lawsuits. If there is a lawsuit, their policies, preventions, and practices can work in their favor.

If the employer can demonstrate the following preventive actions, it may escape significant damages:

  • Implement a policy that makes employment discrimination of any type unacceptable in your workplace. The policy should include:
    • A description of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
    • A process for reporting any incidents of employment discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
    • Several methods for reporting incidents in case an employee’s supervisor is involved in the employment discrimination matter.
    • How an employee complaint will be handled with an outline of steps to follow.
    • Explanation about the disciplinary action that will be taken with offenders.
    • The nature of retaliation (stress that is also considered a form of discrimination).
    • An appeal process for employees who are dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint.

Sometimes it’s the simple things—like training managers—that can make all the difference in your workplace’s level of lawsuit resistance. Workplace postings and required notices are the same sort of thing. Are yours up to date?

  • Ensure that managers understand the company’s policy and that prevention is their responsibility. A manager’s role is to create a work environment and culture in which employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation do not occur. Managers must:
    • Recognize signs and symptoms that discrimination, harassment, or retaliation is occurring and know how to address these illegal actions.
    • Thoroughly understand the company’s policy, procedures, and practices.
    • Know how to recognize work situations that might escalate into employment discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
  • Establish cultural expectations. Creating a work environment that is free of employment discrimination, and all forms of harassment and retaliation, should be a part of:
    • Employee job descriptions
    • The goals in performance development planning
    • Employee reviews and evaluations

To avoid lawsuits, train your managers on all these issues, but especially on rule number-one: Check with HR before you act.

Make Sure Your Workplace Postings Are In Compliance

Managers are a key yet often-overlooked piece of the workplace compliance puzzle—just like your required workplace postings.

As you undoubtedly know, you’re required to post a wide assortment of state and federal notices at your workplace. And if you fail to do so—even if you have the best of intentions—you open yourself up to a wide array of costly fines and penalties.

Sometimes the best thing you can do to ensure consistency in your posting duties is to turn some of them over to someone else. And that’s where we come in.

We’ve done all the running around for you and gathered together in one place:

  • Your required state postings
  • Your required federal postings
  • Your required Wage Order poster
  • 20 copies each of five mandatory pamphlets

Best of all, you only need to think about it once: At the start of every year, we’ll send you a brand-new, fully updated package, so you can be sure you have the most updated information available. You’ll get:

1. California Employee Notice Poster. Includes the following notices:

  • Whistleblower protection
  • Notice to Employees: Unemployment Insurance Benefits
  • Access to Medical and Exposure Records
  • Time Off to Vote
  • Payday Notice
  • Safety and Health Protection on the Job
  • "Notice A"—Pregnancy Disability Leave
  • "Notice B"—Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability Leave
  • Notice to Employees—Injuries Caused By Work (in both English and Spanish)
  • Discrimination and Harassment in Employment are Prohibited by Law
  • Notice to Employees: Reporting Wage Credits for UI, DI, and PFL
  • California Minimum Wage

2. Federal Employee Notice Poster. Includes the following notices:

  • Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Your Rights Under USERRA
  • Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act/Federal Minimum Wage
  • Equal Employment Opportunity is The Law
  • Notice: Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Job Safety and Health: It’s the law!

Missing a required posting? It’s a seemingly “small” omission that can cost you big in the event of a surprise audit. Don’t let it happen to you.

3. Wage Order poster. Your choice of:

  • Manufacturing Industry
  • Personal Services Industry
  • Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical, and similar occupations (offices only)
  • Restaurant, Public Housekeeping
  • Mercantile Industry, Retail Outlets
  • Transportation
  • Amusement and Recreation
  • Certain Occupations in Construction, Drilling, Logging, and Mining

4. Twenty (20) copies each of five mandatory pamphlets:

  • The Facts About Sexual Harassment: Must be distributed to all new hires (we recommend distributing a new copy along with any sexual harassment training you perform, as well).
  • Paid Family Leave: Must be distributed to new hires and employees taking paid family leave.
  • Disability Insurance Provisions: Must be distributed to new hires and employees taking covered leave.
  • For Your Benefit: California’s Programs for the Unemployed: Must be distributed to any employee who is terminated or laid off, or who goes on a leave of absence.
  • Department of Workers’ Compensation “Time of Hire” pamphlet

All for just $99. It’s a deal you can’t beat—order today, risk free.

Need just the posters, or just the pamphlets? We can do that, too.

Download your copy of Training Your New Supervisors: 11 Practical Lessons today!

1 thought on “The Importance of Creating—and Following—Workplace Policies”

  1. Remember to make sure your antidiscrimination references not just the federal protected groups/bases of discrimination but also the relevant state groups.

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