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If you want to do a quick brush up on your employee manual to make sure you have legally vital policies included and up to date with current language, we’d recommend reviewing the following 4 policies.  These policies apply to federal laws by which nearly all organizations need to adhere.

  1. Equal Employment Opportunity

This policy displays compliance with federal and state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age.  A new item that might need to be added to your current policy is due to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act; it prohibits discrimination based on genetic information/genetic predisposition to disease.

Depending on the state or municipality your organization is based, your policy may need to include non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well (not covered by federal law).  Remember – if your local or state law is more stringent than the federal law, your organization needs to comply with the stricter law.

  1. Disability Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers employers with 15 or more employees.  It’s important to have a policy that speaks to employees who may need a reasonable accommodation to perform essential duties of their job due to a disability.  Outline what the employee should do to initiate the process of determining what accommodation they might need, doing so displays a commitment by your organization to comply with the ADA.

  1. Anti-Sexual and General Harassment

This one is kind of a “duh” – sexual harassment is prohibited in all employment settings. Harassment based on a protected class (race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, and age) is also prohibited.  In certain states or municipalities, sexual orientation and gender identity is also protected.

Another hot topic right now is workplace bullying; having an anti-harassment policy that prohibits forms are bullying behavior are recommended.  Employers need to make sure policies are specific enough to include different forms of harassment such as written, verbal, physical, etc.

  1. Your Expectations

State what behavior is and is not allowable in your workplace is important for both the organization and the employees to know what behavior should be addressed with corrective discipline.  Outline the process followed for disciplinary action and how multiple infractions could lead to termination of employment.  It is best not to be super specific about all behaviors that will result in discipline – include a clause that states this policy does not cover every possible act of misconduct and is only a guide for proper behavior.

These four policies are a good start to a compliant employee manual but are certainly not all-inclusive of the policies your organization should include in a handbook.  At Purple Ink we love compliance, believe it or not, and we’d be happy to help review and make updates for you!

When was the last time your employee manual was updated?

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is Purple Ink’s Director of Client Services and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Catherine has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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