When Was The Last Time You Revisited Your Employee Handbook?

Posted July 26, 2018 by Mary McGinley

When is the last time your organization took a look at the company handbook? The workplace is a constantly changing arena, and making sure your company’s handbook is up to date and in compliance with the nation’s labor laws is important.

In an article penned by Workforce.Com columnist, Jon Hyman, the National Labor Relations Board recently published standards for determining whether a company’s facially neutral employment policy is in violation of employee’s rights in accordance to Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

Items that are generally considered lawful for companies to impose within their manuals include items such as:

  • Rules protecting confidentiality and proprietary information.
  • Rules pertaining to no copying, recording or photography.
  • Issues concerning civility, insubordination, or disruptive behavior.
  • Rules protecting company intellectual property, trademarks & logos.

Other rules may be considered on a case-by-case basis either through arbitration or in the courts to determine whether or not they would violate or interfere with the NLRA. These may include items such as:

  • Rules regarding disparagement or criticism of the company.
  • Rules regarding speaking to the media on the employer’s behalf
  • Rules regarding what employees may or may not do on their off hours which may harm the employer.
  • Conflict of interest rules that do not pertain to fraud, self-enrichment.

Some rules should never be found in company manual because they either prohibit or restrict certain rights that are protected under the NLRA. These include:

  • Discussion of salary, working conditions, bonuses or benefits among employees or others.
  • Restricting employees from joining or forming a union or voting on issues which may affect the employer.

When is the best time to update the company handbook? Checking it over to make sure that no rules are in violation of the NLRA’s guidelines as well as other states, local and federal statutes can help organizations keep internal conflicts to a minimum and out of the courts.