Employee handbooks not only let your employee what you expect of them, it can also protect your company from legal issues. If your company does not currently have a handbook or you're looking to update your existing one, be sure to continue reading.
A Good Employee Handbook
Employee handbooks don’t need to be complicated, but good ones typically contain:
- Your Company’s Anti-Discrimination Policy
- Details of the employee’s compensation, including overtime pay, breaks, and bonuses
- Applicable laws concerning labor, termination, and background checks
- Information about benefits
- Anti-Harassment Policy
The last one, Anti-Harassment Policy, will be the focus of today’s post. Craig Martin, a partner at the law firm Lamson, Dugan, and Murray, recently wrote about this in an article titled, “Employee Handbooks- Your First Line of Defense” on Construction Contractor Advisor. In it, Martin breaks down exactly what should be included in the policy:
- Explanation of what harassment is
- Process for harassment complaints
- The company’s commitment to investigate the claim
- Anti-retaliation clause
What is Harassment?
Any continued intimidating or threatening behavior by one party to another is considered harassment. Many times, people assume the only type of harassment is sexual harassment. While it may be one of the more common forms of harassment, there are many other types, including:
- Sexual Orientation
- Race and Heritage
How the Handbook Protects Your Company
According to Martin, the employee handbook is your first line of defense in a lawsuit concerning harassment. Providing a clear statement against harassment and following through promises of investigation shows your company takes harassment very seriously and that will be taken into consideration in a lawsuit. Martin also states that training your employees on the handbook at least once a year is key to avoiding future issues.
Employee Handbooks—Your First Line of Defense | Construction Contractor Advisor
The Trump administration recently released its Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and, contained within it, is a series of regulations that federal agencies plan to either amend or eliminate.
Last November, OSHA issued a final rule that would finally allow them to enforce language, which has been in their standards since 2010, requiring construction crane operators to be formally qualified to operate the equipment. The first day of enforcement for that rule had been set for November 10, 2018, but the agency has recently proposed a new rule that would pull back some of the initial requirements.
In March, OSHA announced that they would be enforcing their previously delayed beryllium exposure limit for the construction industry on May 11, 2018. The agency has recently confirmed that enforcement date in a memorandum on May 9, 2018.
OSHA newer and more stringent regulations regarding employee’s exposure to respirable crystalline silica officially went into effect on September 23, 2017. The new reduced the permissible exposure limit of the substance, which is found mostly in products containing sand (like concrete, mortar, and brick), from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air down to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an 8 hour shift.
If your company did not electronically submitted its 2016 OSHA 300A injury and illness log to OSHA before December 31, 2017, they could be facing an other-than-serious violation with a maximum penalty of $12,934. We tried to warn you, and warn you, and warn you again.
First announced in January 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium exposure limit for construction workers was originally supposed to be in full effect on March 12, 2018. The administration just announced last Friday that the new enforcement date for the rule will be May 11, 2018.
OSHA gives employees many rights in the workplace and employers many responsibilities. One of those is the employee’s right to see the company’s OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Summary Log and the employer’s responsibility to post it.
When OSHA raised its citation penalty amounts for the first time since 1990 in 2016, it raised them 78% to catch up with inflation over that many years. It wasn’t just a one time increase, however, as the amended Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 no longer exempts OSHA from its requirements.
If you have not submitted your company’s OSHA Form 300A electronically through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) yet, you only have a few days left to do so.
OSHA has long used the language in the OSH act to find and hold multiple employers accountable for the actions of another on construction job sites. For decades, OSHA would not only cite the employer whose employees were exposed to hazards, but would also cite the employer who was designated the “controlling employer” on-site, which is most often the general contractor.