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S P E C I A L R E P O RT

5 Tips For Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up In Court

30610360

S P E C I A L R E P O RT

5 Tips For Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up In Court

30610300

Executive Publisher: Robert L. Brady, J.D. Editor in Chief: Margaret A. Carter-Ward Managing Editor: Susan E. Prince, J.D. Legal Editor: Susan E. Schoenfeld, J.D. Editor: Elaine Quayle Production Supervisor: Isabelle B. Smith Graphic Design: Catherine A. Downie Production & Layout: Petra Kunze-Podgorski and Sheryl Boutin This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. (From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers.) 2006 BUSINESS & LEGAL REPORTS, INC. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in part or in whole by any process without written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients is granted by Business & Legal Reports, Inc., provided that the base fee of U.S. $0.50 per copy, plus U.S. $0.50 per page, is paid directly to Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. For those organizations that have been granted a photocopy license by CCC, a separate system of payment has been arranged. The fee code for users of the Transactional Reporting Service is 1-55645-346-9/06/$.50+$.50. ISBN 1-55645-346-9 Printed in the United States of America Questions or comments about this publication? Contact: Business & Legal Reports, Inc. 141 Mill Rock Road East P Box 6001 .O. Old Saybrook, CT 06475-6001 860-510-0100 http://www.blr.com

5 Tips for Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up in Court

Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 HR Policies: Exhibit A in Many Employment Claims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Tip 1: Be Aware (and Beware) of State Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Antidiscrimination Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Leaves of Absence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Wage-Hour Provisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Follow the Checklistand Check Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Tip 2: Make a Policy, Not a Contract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 What the Courts Say . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Include a Disclaimer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Beware of the Supervisors Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 How to Maintain an Employment-at-Will Relationship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 How to Avoid Legalese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Tip 3: Train Supervisors and Employees Policy Training for Legal Compliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Additional Training Your Company Should Provide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Training New Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Training Managers and Supervisors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Tips for Policy Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Tip 4: Coordinate Your Policy Manual with Other Existing Manuals . . . .12 Employee Handbooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 The Purpose of the Policy Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Tip 5: Keep Your Manual Up to Date . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 How to Keep It All Straight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Policy Audits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Policy Topic Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Sample Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

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Introduction
Most policies are a natural outgrowth of the decision-making process. A manager confronting a situation or problem for the first time surveys the facts and makes a decision or issues an order that he or she feels is appropriate. While this decision may not present any problems in the short run, it could lead to complications later on. A similar situation arises later, but under slightly or quite different circumstances. The manager who must make the decision this time around has to revise the original to fit these changed circumstances. After a period of time, you have many supervisors and managers making totally different decisions in the same area while believing that they are adhering to company policy. Most policies arise, therefore, out of past practicesgood or bad, fair or unfair. Even in companies where a policy manual does exist, these past practices can continue to influence managerial decisions. In other words, they cant be ignored. The best policies: N Develop out of the best decisions of the past. N Incorporate the careful thought, good judgment, and valuable experience of all the managers who have been confronted with problems or decisions in a particular policy area. N Weed out the irrational, illogical, and unfair decisions that have contributed to unequal treatment. Most important of all, a good policy is a natural outgrowth of the companys management philosophy and overall objectives. It helps management steer the organization in the direction that has been set for it and avoid legal challenges based on policies, written or unwritten.

HR Policies: Exhibit A in Many Employment Claims


If you have been involved in an employment claim against your organization, you know that very often, an employees claim is based on a company policy, written, or unwritten, and the complaint that the employer deviated from that policy, to the employees detriment. The policy then becomes Exhibit A in the employees case, to be dissected and applied as the standard to which the employer must follow. So, how do you ensure that your policies will make good exhibits for your defense? How do you best ensure that your HR policies will hold up in court? The answer lies in several places, discussed in this report.

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Tip 1: Be Aware (and Beware) of State Laws


Despite all their good points, employee handbooks may create legal liability issues when a handbook policy runs counter to state-law mandate. Many employers are caught in lawsuits where the employer policy complied with federal laws, but neglected to consider the impact of relevant state laws. In such cases, employers find themselves on the losing end of a lawsuit, often facing stiff penalties. In order to avoid this hazard, handbook policies must be written within the context of both federal and state laws governing employment. There are countless ways in which state and federal law overlap and diverge. However, there are a few key areas that employers can focus on to avoid policyrelated missteps. Those areas: antidiscrimination laws, family leave and other leave laws, and wage-hour laws are discussed in more detail here.

Antidiscrimination Laws
The federal antidiscrimination laws, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), protect employees in organizations with 15 or more employees (Title VII and ADA), 20 or more employees (ADEA), or regardless of employer size (USERRA). In comparison, most states have established antidiscrimination laws that cover employers with anywhere from one employee (e.g., Alaska, Colorado, and Michigan) to 12 employees (e.g., West Virginia). As a result, employers who are not covered by federal antidiscrimination statutes are often covered under their state laws. Employers covered under state, but not federal antidiscrimination laws are still well served by having an established, written antidiscrimination policy. To see a sample antidiscrimination policy, refer to the Appendix to this report. Protected classes. Under federal antidiscrimination law employees are protected because of sex, race, ethnicity, age, national origin, disability, and service in the armed services. A majority of states have moved to expand the protected classes of employees, adding sexual orientation, and gender identity to the list (e.g., Illinois, Maine, and Washington), as well as use of lawful products (smoking) (e.g., California, Colorado, and Connecticut), genetic discrimination, HIV/AIDs and sickle cell trait testing (e.g., Arizona, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, and New Mexico, just to name a few). States have also legislated protections for employees based on the employees arrest, conviction, and military records (e.g., California, District of Columbia, and Michigan), and marital status (e.g., Alaska, Illinois, Montana, and Nebraska). Employers in those states must consider the expanded list of employee protections when crafting antidiscrimination policies. Making federal rights broader. Some state legislators have opted to build on existing federal law and broaden the rights granted to employees. For example, a recent trend in the states is to take the federal USERRA, a law granting protection

5 Tips for Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up in Court

to employees in the military reserve and the National Guard, and expand those rights. For example, states have elected to expand the amount of time a returning employee has to request reemployment, and the length of time an employee receives protection from discharge after he or she has been reinstated.

Leaves of Absence
To date, 10 states and the District of Columbia have adopted state-specific FMLAtype laws. Those states, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island,Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, have laws that generally follow the federal FMLA, with a few exceptions critical to employers in those states. For example, Connecticut allows for 16 weeks of protected family leave in a 24-month period (versus 12 weeks in a 12-month period under FMLA). In addition, many states have adopted medical leave provisions for organ and bone marrow donation and blood donation (e.g., Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York), leave for crime victims (e.g., California, Colorado, and Oregon), and leave for school visitation or other family obligations (e.g., Illinois, California, North Carolina, and Vermont). Familiarity with your states family and medical leave provisions is critical to properly forming leave policies and granting and denying leave requests. To see a sample family leave policy, refer to the Appendix to this report.

Wage-Hour Provisions
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which regulates hours of work, established minimum wage requirements and overtime requirements, is often supplemented by state laws regarding minimum wage, overtime, and meal or break periods. For example, 17 states and the District of Columbia currently have minimum wage rates that exceed the federal rate of $5.15 per hour. These states minimum wage rates range from $5.70/hour in Wisconsin (until June 1, 2006, when the state rate increases to $6.50/hour) to $7.63 in Washington state. Overtime. Many states have also chosen to diverge from the federal minimum overtime requirements for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. For example, Alaska state law requires overtime for hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day, and Colorado requires that overtime be paid for any hours worked in excess of 12 hours in one day. Some states have legislated overtime requirements for specific industries in which overtime is frequent. For example, in New York, all hours worked by resort employees on the seventh consecutive workday are paid at an overtime rate. To see a sample overtime policy, refer to the Appendix to this report. Meal or Break Periods. The federal FLSA does not regulate meal or break periods. As a result, many states have stepped in and created their own rules governing pay during meals and other breaks. State provisions usually specify the number of hours that an employee must work to qualify for a break. Some states vary the type and length of break, depending on the type of employee or the work being done. For example, in Illinois, adult employees are granted 20 minute breaks, minors get 30 minutes, and hotel attendants get 30 minutes, regardless of age.

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Follow the Checklistand Check Again


As you review your policy manual, remember that not only are you responsible for the various types of policies that apply to your workplace (see the Appendix to this report for a checklist of policy topics), but you are also responsible for compliance with applicable state and federal law. If both state and federal laws apply to the policy, remember that the rule most beneficial to the employee should be followed.

Tip 2: Make a Policy, Not a Contract


In addition to discrimination, compensation, and other employment-related statutes, employers must be concerned about whether their manual creates a contractual obligation that will be enforced by the courts. Depending on the specific facts of a case, state courts throughout the country have ruled that wording in employee handbooks may in some circumstances create a contract between employer and employee. In this climate, you must treat your handbook as a quasilegal document, and for this reason, it is best to seek an attorneys advice in drafting the language.

What the Courts Say


Established case law illustrates that guarantees, implied promises, and imperative statements found in employee handbooks may get an employer in trouble. Some courts have found that an employee handbook creates a contract if: N Its terms are definite enough to create an offer of employment. N The handbooks terms are communicated to and accepted by the employee. N The employee has continued working for the employer. In light of these and many similar decisions, employers writing any provision in an employee handbook should always assume that the provision is legally binding on the employer (in other words, that it is a contract). This is not always the case, but there is a growing trend toward this view. Before you say it, review it carefully and make sure you mean it. If you dont, write in a way that will allow you to deviate from the policy. These considerations are particularly important when dealing with any employment-at-will issues (discussed later in this section).

Include a Disclaimer
A disclaimer is a statement that, in this case, makes it clear that you do not intend to have the handbook construed as a contract. A clear and conspicuous disclaimer statement may provide a strong defense to many breach of contract charges. The disclaimer should be prominently featured in the handbook and written in large or boldface type.

5 Tips for Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up in Court

To be effective, a disclaimer should include the following: N Nothing in the handbook is to be construed as a contract. N Employment is at the will of the employer, and either the employer or the employee may at any time terminate the employment relationship with or without cause. N Written or oral statements made to the employee are not to be interpreted in any way that alters the at-will relationship. N Disciplinary procedures in the handbook are advisory and not binding on the employer. N Disciplinary procedures may be adjusted or modified at the discretion of the employer. N The employer may change any terms or conditions of employment, whether these are stated in the handbook or are established through employment practices. N These terms and conditions may be altered in writing only and signed by specified officers of the organization, e.g., the president. Get signatures. All workers should be asked to sign an acknowledgment that they have received and understand the new handbook and notice, and the acknowledgment should be placed in each employees personnel file.

Beware of the Supervisors Manual


As discussed earlier, employers may find that they have a contract without intending one. This is usually the result of a court interpreting statements that are made in an employee handbook as promises. However, more often courts have found that a manual meant only for supervisors, which is not intended to be seen by nonsupervisory employees, cannot be the basis for a contract action. See Orback et al. v. Hewlett-Packard, 97 F .3rd 429 (10th Cir. 1996). Of course, if the policies contained in the manual are followed consistently, courts may construe them as binding. Also, a few states have passed laws that make employment promises or consistently followed practices and procedures de facto contracts, binding on the employer.

Tip:
A supervisors policy manual should state clearly that it is meant for supervisors and not for others.

How to Maintain an Employment-at-Will Relationship


If you want to maintain an employment-at-will relationship, consider the following: N Discipline. Eliminate statements that you will follow disciplinary procedures in all cases.
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N Discharge. Eliminate statements that you will only fire employees for certain wrongdoing. N Specific references to time. Eliminate references to specific times such as: employees will have an annual review, there will be an annual raise, there will be an annual bonus, and your annual salary will be $_____, and the like. Substitute words such as periodic,as warranted, and as needed. N Policy changes. Prominently and clearly state that you have the right to change any of the provisions in the manual at any time. N Consistency. Make sure that your application forms, handbooks, and everything else comply with your policy of employment at will. However, do not go overboard and intimidate employees. Revising a handbook to add an employment-at-will disclaimer. Employers with handbook provisions that could restrict their right to fire employees at will (and who wish to ensure this right) should consider issuing a new edition with a disclaimer, along with a notice that draws attention to it. The notice should say that employees who choose to continue working for the employer are thereby signaling their acceptance of the new book. It may also be useful to include a statement that says that the revised manual cancels and supersedes any previous policies that may have existed. If the handbook does not already say that an employee has the right to quit without notice, you might provide that in writing in the new handbook.

How to Avoid Legalese


While you may consult an attorney when writing policies, do not use legalese when writing your policies because: N If you do have a lawsuit over your policies, you want a policy that is easily understood by a jury. N You want an easily understood policy so your supervisors can follow it. N You want an easily understood policy so your employees can follow it. Many manuals have failed in their missioneven though they are accurate, carefully researched, and well-organizedbecause they are not easily readable. Supervisors and managers read manuals when they need information, and they usually need it quickly. For example, at 4:30 p.m., a rush order comes through in production and a new supervisor wonders whether he or she can immediately mandate overtime for the whole crew. If the supervisor finds the language hard to read, or excessively technical or legal, the supervisor is apt to throw the book aside, rather than try to decipher the policy. Some tips on how to avoid the legalese trap: N Avoid technical jargon. N Use short, simple sentences. N Be clear, not fuzzy (unless you intend to be fuzzy). N Say what you mean. (For example, dont include an employee relations statement that says the employer is committed to the growth of all employees if you rarely promote from within and never send your employees to training programs.)
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5 Tips for Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up in Court

N Use active verbs as much as possible. N Go through the book to ensure that policies are consistent with each other. (For example, dont say that the president has an open-door policy on one page while saying on another that employees must take all problems to their direct supervisor first.) N Insist that others edit the book for clarity and accuracy. Although we have advised you not to write your policy manual in legalese, this does not mean that you do not consider the legal implications of your policies, or that you do not ask your companys lawyer to review them. In fact, we recommend you do both.

Tip 3: Train Supervisors and Employees


Of course, having a policy manual will not solve all your problems. Supervisors and employees must not only know what the companys policies are, but they must also understand the reasons behind them. Without this understanding, they cannot effectively enforce and follow the policies. Employers who simply pass out the policy manuals and suggest that supervisors and employees read them will find little change in the way policies and practices are handled in the company. Training is particularly important if you have added new staff, changed any policies, or modified policies or procedures. Training will familiarize supervisors and managers with the bookhelping them become owners of the policies. That way, they will be more likely to refer to the book on a daily basis, and to use it as the company Bible on management.

Policy Training for Legal Compliance


Employee training was once considered an optional benefit, an extra that only the most forward-looking employers provided to the most promising employees. Now, federal law requires training in policy-related areas. Key areas of HR policy training are sexual harassment, discrimination, and ethics. Here, we provide an overview of what should be covered in employee training in the areas of harassment, discrimination, and ethics.

Sexual Harassment
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employers may be held liable for sexual harassment if they did not exercise reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any such behavior in the workplaceeven if they were not aware of the behavior. The Supreme Courts decision highlights the vital importance of sexual harassment training. In light of increased costs of litigationnot to mention the large sums of money often awarded to plaintiff-employees by juriestraining programs are a relatively small, but absolutely critical investment. Effective sexual harassment training must involve all managers (to the highest level) and supervisors, as well as rank-and-file employees.
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The following list outlines critical information that should be conveyed in your sexual harassment training program. Note that there may be important state law issues that you should also address. In your training program, you should: N Define sexual harassment N Consider the laws that prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace N Give examples of what conduct constitutes sexual harassment N Give examples of what is not sexual harassment N Explain the specific forms of harassment and the terms tangible employment action and hostile environment N Outline who can commit sexual harassment N Explain who can experience sexual harassment N Explain under what conditions sexual harassment can occur N Tell employees who to report to if sexual harassment should occur N Discuss when an employer is liable N Outline the objectives of a workplace sexual harassment policy N Explain everyones role in achieving the policy objectives of the organization N Show how to prevent sexual harassment from occurring N Outline the employees responsibilities N Train employees to use reasonable care to make a good-faith effort to avoid the harm of harassment and promptly utilize internal complaint procedures N Outline the responsibilities managers and employers have to address the harassment N Explain what steps should be taken to ensure a thorough investigation N Explain what to do if an employee does not cooperate with the investigation

Discrimination
Because the affirmative defense for sexual harassment has been extended to other forms of discrimination, it is important to provide training on the various forms of discrimination and the employers policies that prohibit such discrimination. The regulations that apply include: N Age Discrimination in Employment Act N Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) N Civil Rights Act of 1991 N Civil Rights Act Title VII N Executive Order 11246 N Immigration Reform and Control Act N Jury System Improvement Act of 1978 N National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) N Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) N Older Workers Benefits Protection Act

5 Tips for Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up in Court

N Pregnancy Discrimination Act N Rehabilitation Act of 1973 N Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) N Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974 Discrimination is covered by federal law, state law, and company policy. Key activities most vulnerable to charges of discrimination are hiring, promotion and performance review, dismissal, time off, compensation and benefits, and workplace atmosphere.

Ethics
It takes only one employee, or even an agent of your company, to commit a crime, and your entire company may be held liable. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, with liability your company may face very large fines, a 5-year probationary period, recompense for the victim of the crime, and more. There is good news, though.You can reduce your organizations fines in such instances by showing that you have established an effective compliance and ethics program in your company. To do this, you must train your employees at all levels, and your agents, on ethics. According to the Federal Sentencing Commission, an organization that has an effective compliance and ethics program can reduce its fines for a criminal conviction by as much as 90 percent. The Guidelines distinguish between what training is required of large vs. small organizations, because the resources available to create compliance and ethics programs will vary by the size of the company. Small organizations are required to train their employees with less formality and fewer resources than large companies. For instance, in small companies employees may be trained in informal staff meetings. Monitoring can be accomplished during regular walk-throughs or by continual observation during the general management of the company. In addition, personnel on staff may conduct the training, rather than hiring trainers outside the company. Specific issues that should be covered in ethics training include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: N Holding a second job N Authority of employees to grant discounts to customers N Gifts (there may be a limitation on receiving all gifts or gifts over a certain value) N Whether employees may have personal financial dealings with or invest in companies that supply materials to or buy materials from your company N Office romances N Confidential information N How to use company funds N Privacy policies N Whether employees families may take advantage of employee discounts N Whether employees may use fictitious names while conducting business
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N Employees performing acts of hospitality toward public officials N Bribery N Prohibitions on all illegal activity N Kickbacks N Performing outside work that competes with the company N Insider information N Borrowing or lending money N Recruiting employees to work for another organization not related to the company N Conflicts of interest N Campaign contributions N Investigations of ethics violations N Disciplinary action for ethics violations

Additional Training Your Company Should Provide


In addition to the topics listed earlier, you should also consider the following types of training: orientation, training for new supervisors, refresher training for experienced supervisors, literacy, diversity, sales, customer relations, various work skills, management skills, computer skills, new technology, production methods, communication skills, workplace law, and cross-cultural training. Effective training enables your organization to comply with all legal requirements, thereby avoiding costly lawsuits, audits, and fines. Training also enables your employees to make the most of their investments by developing knowledge and skills that make them more productive and efficient, learning to use equipment and technology properly and effectively, learning to work in ways that avoid accidents, lawsuits, and government fines, and developing communication, teamwork, and other skills that enhance their contributions to the organization.

Training New Employees


The first day of employment is a critical time for employees to receive orientation, work assignments, and get their bearings within an organization. It is also the perfect time to acquaint the new employee with key policies that affect them directly and immediately. When conducting new employee orientation, dont forget to give the employee a copy of the policy manual and specifically point out critical policy provisions. The policy provisions that should be highlighted during new employee orientation include: N Payroll documentation, pay rate, pay dates, distribution of paychecks, check cashing, and direct deposit programs N How time worked is recorded and how to record time accurately N Employee identification materials and their proper use

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5 Tips for Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up in Court

N Emergency procedures, emergency numbers, fire extinguishers and alarms, evacuation routes, and any other emergency information N Starting and ending times for work N Times and lengths of work breaks and meal breaks N Overtime procedures and documentation N Procedures for sick days, personal days, and leaves of absence N Vacation policy, holiday schedules, and procedure for requesting time off

Training Managers and Supervisors


A policy manual is an excellent training resource for managers and supervisors. The manual can be used both in training newly hired or promoted supervisors and in conducting refresher courses for experienced supervisors. Some companies, in fact, actually structure their supervisory training programs to correspond with the manuals table of contents. Case studies and role-playing exercises can illustrate problems in various policy areas, and the manual can serve as a guide on handling these hypothetical situations. In fact, keep supervisory training needs in mind when designing a policy manual; it can help decide what to teach supervisors.

Tips for Policy Training


In order to effectively train employees and keep them on track, consider the following tips:

1. Get Support from the Top


Either right before or immediately after a new or revised policy manual is distributed, ask a high-ranking company executive to do a pilot presentation for all personnel who will be using it. While this large group meeting may only serve as an introduction and an opportunity for a few brave souls to ask questions, it conveys the message that the manual has top managements full support, thereby encouraging policy implementation.

2. Train in the Middle


Small group meetings within each department or division can follow, giving individual supervisors a chance to raise questions and clarify misunderstandings in more comfortable surroundings. It might be a good idea to have a member of the HR Department present at each of these meetings handle specific questions. Once the policy manual has been distributed and the small group meetings are over, instruction in how to use the manual should continue through the companys supervisor orientation and training programs. When new supervisors see their instructors, peers, and superiors refer to the manual frequently, they will come to regard it as a valuable source of information for most aspects of their job activities.

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3. Avoid Surprises
If supervisors have been consulted throughout the process of developing the policy manual, the final product should not contain any surprises. It should be remembered that these individuals, more than anyone else in the company, are responsible for administering company policies and practices, and that without their help and cooperation at every stage of the manuals development, it cannot be expected to achieve the desired goals.

Tip 4: Coordinate Your Policy Manual With Other Existing Manuals


Most companies have at least two types of policy manuals: one aimed at supervisors and managers, and the other aimed at employees, usually called the employee handbook. Some firms have a third type of manual containing only corporate (as opposed to operating) policies and aimed at the highest level of management. In addition, there may be a number of supplementary publications in the form of booklets or brochures describing the companys programs in such areas as employee benefits, tuition aid, health and medical services, etc. The task of coordinating all of these separate publications for consistency can be overwhelming. Supplementary booklets outlining the companys policies and provisions in specific areas do offer one advantagea shorter policy manual that wont be outdated each time a change is made in one of these programs. However, such booklets have a tendency to get lost or forgotten, while a policy manual is usually too substantial to misplace.You must also consider the cost and time involved in writing, producing, distributing, and updating these supplementary publications.

Employee Handbooks
An employee handbook is fairly easy to prepare once a comprehensive policy manual has been developed. It usually presents many of the same policies, primarily those in the areas of employment, hours and attendance, wages, leaves of absence, benefits, company rules and disciplinary procedures, grievance procedures, safety, communications, and employee services and activities, in condensed form, with an emphasis on what the company offers and what it expects in return. The finished product is usually much shorter in length, smaller in size, and simpler in format. New employees are given a copy of the handbook when they first join the company and are encouraged to consult it when the need arises. It is usually unwise to go to the trouble and expense of revamping or preparing a policy manual while ignoring your existing employee handbook. The two publications should be closely coordinated so that conflicts between supervisors and employees do not arise over inconsistencies. The important thing is to keep all policy-related publications up to date and in conformance with each other.
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5 Tips for Creating HR Policies That Will Hold Up in Court

There must be a single, up-to-date, authoritative source of guidance and information to which managers and supervisors can turn not only in situations where the right course of action is unclear, but also in cases where they are tempted to act on memory or instinct. With a policy manual to point the way, or to back up what they feel is a justifiable action or decision, company managers and supervisors will be able to act swiftly, decisively, fairly, legally, and consistently. Employees will know then that they are being protected from personal bias and poor judgment.

The Purpose of the Policy Manual


A well-written, up-to-date policy manual serves the purpose of guiding managers and supervisors in making decisions, exercising discipline, hiring, firing, and promoting. However, there are a number of other benefits: Communication. A policy manual serves as a basic communications tool. The process of compiling a policy manual includes a survey of managers and supervisors views on each subject or policy area, providing top management with an opportunity to learn their views, what steps they would like to see the company take, what areas are giving them problems, and where confusion and misunderstandings lie. In other words, the policy formulation process is perhaps the best opportunity a companys top managers will have to communicate with the rest of the management team on almost every subject of mutual interest. In return, supervisors and managers get a chance to find out exactly where top management stands on these issues. Remember that communication should not stop once the manual is completed. On the contrary, communication should continue between supervisors and employees, as well as between supervisors and their superiors. Every time there is a policy question, the supervisor or manager has an opportunity to improve communications and understanding with the employee(s) involved. Indeed, some employers rewrite or review their policies periodically to reeducate their supervisors on the policies and to change the ones that are not meeting the companys goals. Expressing company commitment. A policy manual serves as written documentation of the companys commitment to fair employment practices and equal employment opportunity. A policy on equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action is no guarantee that you are in compliance with the law, but it will help when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requests your policies. If you can prove that you have a clearly stated and widely publicized policy in these areas, it will also help with defense of any litigation. Also, if your policy is effectively communicated to employees and supervisors alike, the chances of a complaint being filed in the first place will be greatly reduced. These reasons make a company policy manual desirable, but there are other factors that make a manual mandatory if the company is to survivelet alone prosperin todays business, social, and economic climate. As previously mentioned, a policy manual documents the companys commitment to equal employment opportunity. But EEO is only one of the legal areas in which change occurs constantly, such as product liability laws, environmental protection legislation,

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, privacy issues, medical examinations, group health care, consumer protection legislation, the Internet, telecommuting, and information-disclosure rules. In the absence of a good corporate policy guide, managers and supervisors are likely to make costly mistakes in these and other areas. A policy provides consistency in interpretation and enforcement within an organization. Reinforcing consistency. Another compelling reason for a policy manual is managing and controlling complex operations. Fast-growing organizations, those that have undergone decentralization, and those in which managers of relatively small operating units make decisions that affect the entire organization, are only a few examples of the need for clearly stated and widely understood policies. While it may not be possibleor even desirableto control all management decisions, it is certainly desirable to provide managers with a framework within which they can make their own decisions on important or sensitive issues in a fair and consistent manner.

Tip 5: Keep Your Manual Up to Date


The work of policy management never really ends. In most companies a group of employees meets regularly to review changes in the law, government regulations, management philosophy, and employee benefits. While the time commitment will not be nearly as great as it was for the preparation of the original manual, time must be invested to determine when and how policies should be updated or replaced. Remember that, although an organization can change its policies at any time, those changes should be announced before and not after the fact, and introduced to all employees, supervisors, and managers. In some states, a policy change that diminishes an employee benefit (e.g., less vacation time) requires consideration (i.e., something of value given to employees in exchange for the loss).

How to Keep It All Straight


One employee, usually a member of the HR department, should be responsible for keeping a file of all information relating to policy updates. Here are some suggestions for making this task easier: N Set up a record file for changes. Once a change is made in the manuals content, place it in a special file so that someone knows what changes have already been made, on what date, etc. N Set up a file for other pertinent information. A file of all management memos and directives, notes of legal changes, bulletin board announcements, and other items pertaining to company policies and practices should be maintained and kept current so that the material is readily available when the review committee meets to discuss proposed changes. N Send out tickler memos. Send out a reminder memo or e-mail to each management representative concerned with policy changes in various areas
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(for example, the benefits administrator). Ask them what, if any, changes have occurred over the past quarter that may affect the accuracy of the policies contained in the manual. Set up the memo in such a way that you get a prompt and concise reply. Similar memos can be sent to key supervisors and other individuals who contributed material to the original manual. These are usually the people who know whether the policies as written actually reflect day-to-day practices.

Policy Audits
Finally, remember to audit the entire manual as often as changing conditions within and outside the company indicate. During the audit, the reviewer should ask: 1. Is the organization operating in the same way that it did when the original manual was issued? 2. Have any of the policies interfered with managers or supervisors ability to act, to make decisions swiftly and consistently, or to keep operations moving along smoothly? 3. Have supervisors been satisfied with the manuals organization and numbering system? Have they found it easy and practical to use? 4. Have any of the policies had an adverse effect on employee morale or productivity? Note: When it comes to keeping your manual up to date, supervisors are the best available source of information on how present policies are (or are not) working, how they are affecting employee morale and productivity, and how they might be modified to achieve better results in the future.

Conclusion
We hope that you have enjoyed this special report and that you found the information contained in this report useful. BLR strives to provide Human Resources professionals with practical and easy-to-use information on a wide variety of topics. If you would like to see the complete library of publications available through BLR, please visit our website at www.blr.com or call our Customer Service Department at 800-727-5257.

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16

Appendix
Policy Topic Checklist
Not sure if you have all your bases covered in your policy manual? Take a look at the following checklist of potential topics that can be included in an employers policy manual:

Attendance and Time Off


Absenteeism and Tardiness Hours of Work Holidays Vacations Leave of Absence General Family Medical/Maternity Child Involvement Uniformed Service Volunteer Emergency Services Educational Death in the Family Jury or Witness Duty Inclement Weather Flextime Return to Work

Employment
EEO/Affirmative Action Requisition and Recruitment Interviewing and Selection Internet RecruitingGeneral Internet RecruitingGovernment Contractors Reference and Information Requests Criminal History Records Indemnification of Employer by Employee Indemnification of Employee by Employer Preemployment Physical Examinations Orientation Employee Status/Classification Part-time/Temporary EmployeesIndependent Contractors Internship Probationary/Orientation Period Employment of Relative
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Fraternization Employment of Former Employees Layoffs and Recalls Employment At Will Noncompete Policy Immigration and Employment Access to Personnel Files Job Sharing Promotions Employment and Reemployment of Veterans Disability Accommodation Employment Contracts Moonlighting Contingent Workers Telecommuting

Compensation
Wage and Salary Administration Direct Deposit Merit Increases Overtime Call-in Pay Garnishments Deductions from Pay Loans and Pay Advances Bonus Pay On-Call Pay Suggestion Policies Travel Pay Training Wage Shift Pay

Employee Benefits
Insurance Pension Plans Moving Expenses/Relocation Business Travel Expenses Entertainment Expenses Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Child Care/Dependent Care Elder Care Employee Discounts Short-Term Disability Pay Leave Banks Matching Gift Program Automobile Usage

Discipline and Rules


Work Rules Disciplinary Procedures Solicitation Smoking

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Employee Cafeteria/Lunchroom Telephone Use Cellular Phones Beepers/Pagers Visitors Bulletin Boards Suggestion Systems-Intranet Parking Drugs and Alcohol Drug-Free Workplace Act Drugs and Alcohol (Department of Defense Regulations) Drug Screening and Inspection Consent Form Supervisor Training About Drug Abuse Violation of Drug/Alcohol Policy and Disciplinary Consequences Fitness for Duty Harassment Sexual Harassment Training Sexual Orientation Grooming Business Casual Privacy Cameras, PDAs, and Video Equipment Employee Lockers Voice Mail Electronic Mail Gambling Extracurricular Activities Off-Duty Conduct Community Involvement Facsimile Software Mail/Mail Handling Workplace Contraband Internet Intranet Instant Messaging Screen Savers

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Communications
Open Door Policy Arbitration and Grievance Procedures Media Relations

Training and Development


Performance Appraisal Promotion from Within Job Posting Educational Assistance Program

Safety and Health


Safety Programs Protective Equipment Accident Reports Emergencies Fire Prevention Annual Physical Exams Access to Medical Records Access to HIPAA-Protected Health Information Workers Compensation Life-Threatening Illnesses Communicable Diseases Hazard Communication Video Display Terminals (VDT) Motor Vehicle Safety Ergonomics Cellular Phone Safety

Security
Security Rules and Regulations Investigations Government Investigations Violence in the Workplace

Termination
Voluntary vs. Involuntary Terminations Exit Interviews Severance and Separation Pay Unemployment Compensation Retirement

Miscellaneous
Business Ethics Monitoring Telephone Calls Death of an Employee Confidentiality of Information Purchasing English Only Employee Recognition Program Athletics and Recreation Breastfeeding Policy HIPAA Health Information Privacy Policy Duty of Loyalty Reports of Wrongdoing Copyrights Trademarks

Developments/Corporate Opportunities Social Security Numbers Recycling Transfer Resignation Policy Lost and Found Recordkeeping
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Sample Policies
The following sample policies are taken from Business & Legal Reports publication, Encyclopedia of Prewritten Personnel Policies and demonstrate many of the tips discussed in this special report.

Sample Policy #1 Family and Medical Leave Policy


The Leave Policy You are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family/medical leave within any 12-month period and be restored to the same or an equivalent position upon your return from leave provided you: (1) have worked for the company for at least 12 months, and for at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 calendar months; and (2) are employed at a worksite that has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. Reasons for Leave You may take family/medical leave for any of the following reasons: (1) the birth of a son or daughter and in order to care for such son or daughter; (2) the placement of a son or daughter with you for adoption or foster care and in order to care for the newly placed son or daughter; (3) to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent (covered relation) with a serious health condition; or (4) because of your own serious health condition that renders you unable to perform an essential function of your position. Leave for either of the first two reasons must be completed within the 12-month period beginning on the date of birth or placement. In addition, in cases where a married couple is employed by the same company, the two spouses together may take a combined total of 12 weeks leave during any 12-month period for reasons (1) and (2), or to care for the same individual pursuant to reason (3). Notice of Leave If your need for family/medical leave is foreseeable, you must give the company at least 30 days prior written notice. If this is not possible, you must at least give notice as soon as practicable (within 1 to 2 business days of learning of your need for leave except in extraordinary circumstances). Failure to provide such notice may be grounds for delay of leave. Additionally, if you are planning a medical treatment, you must consult with the company first regarding the dates of such treatment. The company has Request for Family/Medical Leave forms available from the Human Resources Department.You should use these forms when requesting leave. Medical Certification If you are requesting leave because of your own or a covered relations serious health condition, you and the relevant healthcare provider must supply appropriate medical certification.You may obtain Medical Certification forms from the human resources department. When you request leave, the company will notify you of the requirement for medical certification and when it is due (no more than 15 days after you request leave). If you provide at least 30 days notice of medical leave, you should also provide the medical certification before leave begins. Failure to provide requested medical certification in a timely manner may result in denial
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of leave until it is provided. The company, at its expense, may require an examination by a second healthcare provider designated by the company, if it reasonably doubts the medical certification you initially provide. If the second healthcare providers opinion conflicts with the original medical certification, the company, at its expense, may require a third, mutually agreeable, healthcare provider to conduct an examination and provide a final and binding opinion. The company may require subsequent medical recertification. Failure to provide requested certification within 15 days, except in extraordinary circumstances, may result in delay of further leave until it is provided. Reporting While on Leave If you take leave because of your own serious health condition or to care for a covered relation, you must contact the company on the first and third Tuesday of each month regarding the status of the condition and your intention to return to work. In addition, you must give notice as soon as is practicable (within 2 business days if feasible) if the dates of the leave change or are extended or were unknown initially. Leave Is Unpaid Family medical leave is unpaid leave (although you may be eligible for short- or long-term disability payments and/or workers compensation benefits under those insurance plans). If you request leave because of birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, any accrued paid vacation [personal leave or family leave] first will be substituted for unpaid family/medical leave. If you request leave because of your own serious health condition, or to care for a covered relation with a serious health condition, any accrued paid vacation [personal leave, family or medical/sick leave] first will be substituted for any unpaid family/medical leave. The substitution of paid leave time for unpaid leave time does not extend the 12-week leave period. Further, in no case can the substitution of paid leave time for unpaid leave time result in your receipt of more than 100 percent of your salary. [Employers may elect to make leave paid or unpaid. The bracketed material must be modified depending on whether the company provides paid personal, family, or medical/sick leave and under what circumstances these paid leaves may be used.] Your family/medical leave runs concurrently with other types of leave, i.e., paid vacation. Medical and Other Benefits During an approved family/medical leave, the company will maintain your health benefits as if you continued to be actively employed. If paid leave is substituted for unpaid family/medical leave, the company will deduct your portion of the health plan premium as a regular payroll deduction. If your leave is unpaid, you must pay your portion of the premium through [employers should specify the method they wish to use].Your healthcare coverage will cease if your premium payment is more than 30 days late. If your payment is more than 15 days late, we will send you a letter to this effect. If we do not receive your co-payment within 15 days after the date of this letter, your coverage may cease. If you elect not to return to work for at least 30 calendar days at the end of the leave period, you will be required to reimburse the company for the cost of the premiums paid by the company for maintaining coverage during your unpaid leave, unless you cannot
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return to work because of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond your control. The company must decide what, if any, other benefits will continue to accrue during leave periods.There is no obligation to continue to provide or accrue any benefits other than health care under FMLA. Exemption for Highly Compensated Employees Highly compensated employees (i.e., highest-paid 10 percent of employees at a worksite or within a 75-mile radius of that worksite) may not be returned to their former or equivalent position following a leave, if restoration of employment will cause substantial economic injury to the company. (This fact-specific determination will be made by the company on a case-by-case basis.) The company will notify you if you qualify as a highly compensated employee if the company intends to deny reinstatement, and of your rights in such instances. (This exception is so difficult to satisfy, employers may wish to delete reference to it.) Intermittent and Reduced-Schedule Leave Leave because of a serious health condition may be taken intermittently (in separate blocks of time due to a single health condition) or on a reduced-leave schedule (reducing the usual number of hours you work per workweek or workday) if medically necessary. If leave is unpaid, the company will reduce your salary based on the amount of time actually worked. In addition, while you are on an intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the company may temporarily transfer you to an available alternative position that better accommodates your recurring leave and which has equivalent pay and benefits.

Sample Policy #2 Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy


Full-time Staff The Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy provides regular, full-time staff members with an entitlement of days away from work with pay. PTO days may be used for vacation, personal time, illness, or time off to care for dependents. PTO must be scheduled in advance and approved by your supervisor, except in cases of sudden illness or emergency. The PTO Policy does not cover scheduled holidays, floating holidays, time off for jury duty, or bereavement leave. Questions about PTO earned and used should be referred to your supervisor. PTO is earned on an employment year basis and is earned on the first day of each month following your date of employment. Paid Time Off is based on the following schedule: Completed Years of Employment:
Up to and including year 3 Beginning year 4 Beginning year 8 Beginning year 16

Paid Time Off:


17 days (1.42 days per month) 20 days (1.67 days per month) 25 days (2.08 days per month) 30 days (2.50 days per month)

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During your first year of employment, PTO is earned at a rate of one-twelfth of 17 days. Time off may only be used as it is earned, except in the case of illness. After your first employment anniversary, you may schedule PTO at any time during your employment year.You may schedule PTO in whole or half days but not less than a half day. Carryover of Paid Time Off Earned, unused PTO may be carried over into the next year but the number of days carried over may not exceed your entitlement for the current year. Example: Entitlement Carryover
1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year 4th Year 5th Year 17 17+4 = 21 17+6 = 23 20+13 = 33 20+20 = 40

Used
13 15 10 13 19

Unused
4 6 13 20 21

Actual Carryover
4 6 13 20 20

The number of PTO days carried over from one year to the next may not exceed your entitlement for the current year. Days not used or carried over may be added to your sick day bank and used as days at 100 percent pay (Reserve Sick Days) in lieu of benefits through the Short-Term Disability Plan. (A maximum of 130 Reserve Sick Days may be banked.)

Paid Time Off at Termination


Terminating employees will be paid either for their earned but unused PTO or their annual entitlement, whichever is less. Unused PTO carried over will be used in this calculation. Examples: N A terminating employee with 2 years and 6 months of service who has used no PTO days during the current employment year and who has 2 unused days of PTO carried over from the previous year will be entitled to payment of 10.5 days8.5 days earned in the current year plus 2 carried over (1.42 X 6 + 2 = 10.5). N A terminating employee with 4 years and 10 months of service who has used no PTO days during the current employment year and who has 6 unused days of PTO carried over from the previous year will be paid for 20 days of PTOthe current annual entitlement (1.67 X 10 + 6 = 22.7 = 20 days annual entitlement). If you have used all of your PTO entitlement for the employment year and terminate your employment before you have earned all the PTO you have taken, payment for the unearned days will be deducted in the computation of your final paycheck.
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The company does not make payment for unused PTO to employees who are terminated for the violation of company rules and/or regulations, to employees who resign without appropriate notice as described under Voluntary Termination in Staff Handbook/One, or to the beneficiaries of employees who die while employed at the company. (Unused reserve sick days are not paid at termination.) An emergency or unexpected work requirement might cause you to forego scheduled PTO already approved by your supervisor. When such an event means that you cannot carry over PTO to which you would have been entitled if you had taken your scheduled PTO, special arrangements may be made by your department head and should be confirmed in writing. The agreement may provide for PTO to be carried forward or some other arrangement appropriate to the circumstances.

Sample Policy #3 Overtime Policy


When state overtime law requires a more favorable treatment for employees for overtime, the state law will be followed. When federal overtime law requires a more favorable treatment for employees for overtime, the federal law will be followed. The workweek begins Monday morning and ends Sunday night. Normal first-shift hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal second-shift operations start at 4:00 p.m. and end at 12:30 a.m. Special third-shift or other special-hour arrangements may be established at the companys discretion to meet production requirements. The standard workday for hourly employees is 8 hours, which all employees are expected to work in full. The standard workweek for hourly employees is 40 hours. Management expects that employees will work in excess of standard hours when requested. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, including discharge. In the event of any such failure, the validity of the reason for refusal and the amount of advance notice of overtime shall be taken into consideration. Persons who have been assigned to work overtime, whether voluntary or mandatory, shall be expected to report to work as scheduled. Failure to report shall be subject to disciplinary procedures as specified for any other nonappearance for a regularly scheduled work time. When an employee is requested to work over his or her regularly scheduled hours, additional wages will be paid as follows: N Time and one-half for all hours worked over 40 hours in one week. N Time and one-half in addition to holiday pay for hours worked on a day that is observed by the company as a paid holiday. N Time and one-half for hours worked on a Sunday. N Compensatory time, in that same workweek, can be taken in lieu of overtime pay. N Before requiring employees to work overtime, volunteers will be requested. Employees should be released from mandatory overtime when they provide a reasonable excuse, such as: N Personal family emergency N Personal or family health maintenance

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N Personal long-range commitment Legal appointment Long-range planned project that would be breached at great expense Where personal penalty is involved: court date, defaults of deposits, etc. N Important family function: wedding, etc. On-call time will be counted as hours worked for overtime purposes if the employee is not generally free to use the time to pursue personal interests.

Sample Policy #4 Equal Employment Opportunity Policy


The company complies with nondiscrimination regulations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,Vietnam-Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Executive Order 11141, the Equal Pay Act, the [state] Labor Code; and other applicable statutes, ordinances, and regulations. The company complies with affirmative action regulations under Executive Order 11246, as amended, the Vietnam-Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act, the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 and the Jobs for Veterans Act of 2002, and the Federal Rehabilitation Act. The company will recruit, hire, train, and promote people in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, physical or mental disability or history of disability (except where physical or mental abilities are a bona fide occupational requirement and the individual is not able to perform the essential functions of the position even with reasonable accommodations), or sex (unless gender is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, uniformed service, or other protected characteristic. Managers and supervisors of the company will base decisions on employment to further the principle of equal employment opportunity. Managers and supervisors of the company will ensure that promotion decisions are in accord with principles of equal employment opportunity by imposing only job-related requirements for promotional opportunities. The company will ensure that all personnel actions, including compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, return from layoff, company-sponsored training, education, tuition assistance, and social and recreation programs, will be administered without regard to age, race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability or history of disability (except where physical or mental abilities are a bona fide occupational qualification and the individual is not able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation), veteran status, uniformed service, pregnancy, sex (unless gender is a bona fide occupational qualification), or other protected characteristic. The company disapproves of sexual, racial, disability, national origin, age, veteran, uniformed service, religious, and all other forms of harassment of any employee, whether it is by a co-worker, a manager, a customer, or a vendor. Sexual advances;
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requests for sexual favors; sexual or racial jokes; racial, ethnic, national origin, or disability slurs; and other harassing language or conduct have no place in our business. In addition, physical conduct of a sexual nature will not be tolerated. It is expected that employees will treat one another with mutual respect for their dignity. Harassment of any type by any employee is grounds for immediate termination. Any person who believes he or she may have been discriminated against in violation of these principles or who observes any discrimination in violation of these principles or who needs a reasonable accommodation should discuss the matter with a human resources representative or the branch manager. If for any reason you do not want to discuss the matter with these individuals, you may discuss the matter with ____________, EEO coordinator, or any officer of the company. Managers or supervisors who receive any complaint or concern involving discrimination or observe any discrimination must bring the matter to the attention of the EEO coordinator or the branch manager. That individual will initiate an appropriate investigation. Employees have a responsibility to cooperate in any investigation of unlawful discrimination. All employees are to cooperate fully with the investigation and resolution of all discrimination complaints.

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