Thinking about purchasing an Employee Handbook online? Buyer Beware!
So, it is my first meeting with a client – our agenda: reviewing his current employee handbook. After reviewing this dreadful document, I asked him, “Who wrote this handbook?” Not surprising, he said he purchased it online. This was literally the most disturbing online handbook I have read in years. I was appalled with how many risks I saw that my client was unaware of.
From my experience, key considerations to handbooks include the size of the employer, the number of locations, multi-state considerations and the fact that a handbook sets the tone of expectations; ultimately, it is a communication tool, not just a compliance manual. At HRBoost, we often get into the trenches of handbook analysis with our clients but we ALWAYS advise legal review. The changes in legislation are rampant and fluid – thus even the best of us in HR are well suited to have an employment law attorney on standby.
In case you missed it, Wessels Sherman published a list of the Illinois employment laws enacted in 2013 that we wanted to share with you.
- Social Media Privacy
- Any employee whose electronic communications is unlawfully monitored is allowed to sue for civil remedies, including actual and punitive damages.
- Employers may obtain any password or account information related to social media accounts used for business purposes.
- Medical Marijuana
- Individuals who are physician-diagnosed to use medical marijuana must have a physician’s written certification for marijuana use, must register with the state, and possess a valid registry identification card. Then, and only then, can the registered cardholder possess and use marijuana without being subject to arrest.
- However, The Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act expressly states that “nothing in this Act shall prevent a private business from restricting or prohibiting the medical use of cannabis on its property.”
- Cell Phone Usage
- Drivers are permitted to use a cell phone if they are using a hands-free device (e.g. a Bluetooth headset) or are using the phone in voice-activated mode.
- Exceptions to the law:
– The law does not apply to drivers utilizing a CB radio, a fleet management system, dispatching device, or music player.
– Drivers using a one button to start or end a call, or have their car in park may also be exempt from the law.
- Illinois Employee Classification Act (ECA)
- An officer of the company can be held personally liable for misclassification in determining whether a worker qualifies as an “employee” or an “independent contractor.”
- Concealed Carry
- “Private employers who wish to prohibit the carrying of firearms must clearly and conspicuously post the approved sign at the entrance of the building or premises.”
- Prevailing Wage Laws
- Employers ordered by a court to pay back wages or final compensation due to a wage and hour claim must pay additional fees ranging from $250 to $1000, depending on the amount owed.
- Further, amendments to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act create additional record-keeping responsibilities for employers.
- Workplace Violence
- Employers are permissioned to obtain protective orders when a credible threat of workplace violence is made.
- Failure to address a credible threat of workplace violence can result in claims of negligence and prosecution under OSHA’s general duty clause.
So, with this being said, “Buyer beware!” — Just because they call it a handbook, it does not mean it was written for you! Visit us at HRBoost.com, send us an email, or give us a call at 847-736-5085 with any questions you may have. We would love to engage in a conversation that can add value to your business strategy.
Legislation details provide by Wessels Sherman Management – Side Labor and Employment Law
Nicole Martin is Founder and Executive Director of HRBoost, LLC. She is recognized as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resource Certification Institute and carries a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) with an undergraduate degree in Business and Psychology. She is immersed in world of human resource management every day. HRBoost, LLC. is a Human Resource and Management Consulting firm that is focused on providing custom human resource solutions, systems, training and support to develop and optimize your investment in people. HRBoost offers a full range of services on both a consulting and outsourced basis that allows your business to do what it does best. Helping companies contain costs, minimize employer-related risk, and relieve the administrative burden of HR while creating results that rival big competition.