Learning & Development

Cutting-Edge Policies Your Candidates Will Inquire About

Today’s candidates are likely to ask about your policies regarding such things as phone use, internet access, and more. The culture is changing, and so must your organization’s policies. In today’s Advisor, attorney Allan H. Weitzman shares guidelines for cutting-edge policies.

Weitzman, a partner with Proskauer Rose LLP, offered his tips at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

Technology Policies

Weitzman suggests that your technology policies include:

  • Social networking sites;
  • Blogging;
  • Company equipment rules, e.g., use for business purposes only; and
  • No expectation of privacy for employer property.

‘BYOD’ (Bring Your Own Device) Policies

Your BYOD policy may include:

  • Inspection of devices at termination (to be sure no proprietary information is on them).
  • Devices can be wiped (for example, if lost or stolen).
  • Required notifications if devices are lost or stolen.
  • Employees must use strong passwords.
  • Telephone call monitoring warning if you may monitor.
  • Tape recording warning if you may tape record.

In addition, says Weitzman:

  • Get a signed acknowledgement form.
  • Be aware of wage-and-hour liability issues when nonexempt employees use phones off-hours.
  • Be aware that telecommuting may bring similar challenges.

Important: Antiharassment policies are applicable to all forms of communication: e-mail, voicemail, BlackBerry® phones and PDAs, Internet, instant messaging, chat rooms, public Internet posts, etc., says Weitzman.

Cell Phone Rules for Drivers

Weitzman advocates a number of rules for employees who drive:

  • Make sure that employees know the features available on their cell phones and how to use them.
  • Require the use of hands-free devices and memory, one-button, and voice-activated dialing.
  • Check that the cell phone is within easy reach of the driver.
  • Advise employees to inform anyone with whom they are speaking that they are driving while on the phone.
  • Advise employees to avoid using cell phones during hazardous weather and traffic conditions.
  • Ensure that employees do not look up phone numbers or take notes while they are driving.
  • Advise employees to make calls while they are not moving or before pulling into traffic.
  • Advise employees to avoid emotional or stressful discussions while driving.
  • And, no texting!

Special Issue: Camera Phones

Today, most phones have a camera, and that brings more problems into the workplace.

You cannot have a total ban that would include protected concerted activity, Weitzman says. However, you can prohibit picture taking during working time, in nonpublic working areas (to protect confidential information and trade secrets), and in restrooms and locker rooms (to protect privacy).

Cross-Dressing in the Workplace

Employers are free to define business attire differently for men and women, Weitzman says, and some courts have held that a male employee dismissed for wearing female attire cannot successfully bring a claim of sex discrimination.

However, cross-dressing may be protected under certain state and local antidiscrimination laws.

Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

There are important benefits of drug-free workplace policies, says Weitzman, including:

  • Decreased absenteeism, turnover, downtime, accidents, and thefts, and
  • Increased productivity and overall employee morale.

A drug- and alcohol-testing policy should be part of your company’s drug-free workplace policy, Weitzman says, and you should include a detailed description of the drug-testing procedures.

Generally, employers may test applicants and employees in the following circumstances (subject to state and local laws), Weitzman says.

  • During a yearly physical;
  • Prior to transfers or promotions;
  • Prior to being placed in positions involving security, safety, or money;
  • After an accident;
  • Where the employee used drugs in the past;
  • After treatment;
  • Based on reasonable suspicion; and
  • On a random basis.

State and Local Legal Requirements

Don’t forget that there may be state and local legal requirements that should be incorporated into your handbook and communicated to employees. Weitzman recommends looking for these topics in particular:

  • Workplace smoking policies
  • E-cigarettes
  • Voting policies
  • Jury duty policies
  • Blood, bone marrow, and/or organ donation leave
  • Protected off-duty legal activity
  • Domestic violence leave
  • Breastfeeding accommodations

In tomorrow’s Advisor, more from Weitzman, including policy tips for guns in the workplace. Plus, an introduction to an interactive webinar, Cutting-Edge Recruiting Tactics: How to Stretch Your Candidate-Sourcing Skills Beyond LinkedIn and Facebook.