Topic of the Week Are You Familiar With Your Employer's Policies?
Generally an employer provides its employees with a handbook or workplace policies to set forth expected behavior and procedures within the workplace. Employer policies can impact your ability to bring a claim in court and in some cases can create contracts between the employer and employee.
1. Does an employer have to follow its own handbook or personnel policy?Some state courts have held that an employer handbook is a contract unless the handbook expressly states that it is not a contract. If the handbook is deemed to be a contract by the court, then the employer can be liable for breaching that contract if it fails to follow the procedures outlined within the handbook. For example your handbook might state that employees “will” rather than “may” receive a severance package- in the past this has been interpreted to create an obligation on behalf of an employer to provide a severance package for its employees.
2. My employer has a general policy, but it only seems to affect certain employees- is this legal?
It is true that sometimes facially neutral policies (policies that are applied to all employees equally and are not expressly illegal) can sometimes violate the law.
For example, a policy may prohibit promotion when an employee takes off four or more consecutive weeks during the year. A policy like this would tend to discriminate against women who took time off due to pregnancy or employees who were sick or otherwise temporarily disabled. Individuals negatively affected by a policy like this could potentially file a lawsuit against their employer.
Thought of the Week
"Failing to update employee handbooks regularly can make employers vulnerable to legal risks and liabilities, resulting in costly fines, penalties, and attorneys’ fees. Employment laws are often complicated, and employers need to be aware of any new regulatory developments that may impact their organizations and workforce."
Weekly Comic by Jerry King
Blog of the Week
Leveraging Federal Funds for Employment
We want to advance towards our long-term goal of a democracy that works for all of us, with sustainable jobs in a clean economy.
Top Five News Headlines
- Dave & Buster's Cited for Child Labor, Meal Break Violations
- Fast Fashion Giant with Ties to China Tries to Shake Forced Labor Claims
- Child Labor Investigation Spreads to Meatpacking, Produce Companies in 11 States
- Canadian Wildfire Smoke Disrupts U.S. Air Travel
- Job Seekers Speak Out About Pulled Employment Offers
List of the Week
from Griffin Benefits
Employer policies to consider this year:
- pay transparency
- paid leave
- remote and hybrid work