I encourage you to take a fresh look at your Employee Policies or Employee Handbook, or have an employment attorney or Human Resources professional review them for you, because there are some important areas of change for 2015.
1. Equal Employment Opportunity
Take the time to list all of the protected classifications in your handbook. The California Fair Employment and Housing Council is considering amendments to its regulations regarding California discrimination laws, including a requirement that employers list all "protected classes" or basis for discrimination in a written policy. This is a good idea as it helps protect the employer and educates your managers and supervisors.
The list would be: race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion including religious attire and religious related hair styles, beard, etc., sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding and related medical conditions), physical and mental disability, age (40 and older), genetic information and privacy of medical records, marital status, sexual orientation and identity including gender expression, veteran status, medical condition including AIDS/HIV, political activities or affiliations.
Also protected are whistle blower status, protection from being required to give access to Social Media sites, protection from denial of family and medical care leave, and protection from unfair immigration related employment practices.
2. Anti-Harassment Policy
Also take the time to clearly state it is against company policy for anyone to engage in abusive behavior to one of your employees. In the past, most anti-harassment policies focused on sexual harassment or perhaps also prohibited harassment based on other "protected classifications" of employees covered by equal employment laws.
In 2015, employers are expected to train supervisors and managers on how to prevent abusive behavior in the workplace. Since it is very clear that abusive behavior is harmful to productivity, causes employee turnover, and is undesirable in the workplace, now is the time to clearly state it is also against company policy.
3. Other Policies
Of course our team at Don Dressler Consulting suggests an annual review of employee policies and handbooks, particularly now with so much activity at both the California and Federal level affecting employee benefits and human resources.
A key example is the coming July 1, 2015 California law requiring paid sick leave for all employees. Don't be misled by the July 1, 2015 effective date! New employment posters including reference to this law are required as of Jan. 1, 2015 as notices to new hired "hourly employees" are based on the Labor Code Section 2810.5 notice. (Wage Theft Protection Act).
We recommend a different format with additional information to protect your company rather than you just using the "official" form from the CA Department of Industrial Relations.
Every single client I have worked with on how to adapt to this new paid sick leave law has had to change their existing policies - and no company has the same problems as another. Allow yourself time to learn about this new law, how it affects you and what it will cost. We can help you design a policy to meet your needs and comply with the law.
Plan For Next Year's Laws TODAY!
The Don Dressler Consulting Team monitors the legal developments on these issues, and offers advice on
important HR & safety compliance issues.
For a personal discussion: Call Don Dressler: 949-533-3742