What should we include in our updated employee handbook?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. Our company is looking to revise and update its employee handbook. This will be the first update in several years. Is there anything specific that we should focus on to make sure that we are up-to-date?

A.
It’s good that you are updating your employee handbook. Typically, we recommend that employers update their handbooks at least every three years, and make sure the revision date is clearly stated in the handbook itself.

Because each company is different, it’s difficult to state what any individual handbook should include. Nevertheless, all handbooks should include the following:

  • A statement that, unless otherwise specified, all employees are considered at-will. Of course, in a unionized environment, one or more groups of employees are subject to specific bargaining agreements. Nevertheless, there should be an at-will statement covering the rest of the work force.
  • A workplace harassment policy. While the policy should specify that while law prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of protected categories (i.e., age, race, sex, etc.), company policy prohibits all forms of workplace harassment.
  • If your company has at least 50 employees, you must include an up-to-date FMLA policy. Make sure this policy includes the recent changes to the FMLA, including the caregiver and active-duty military family leave provisions.

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