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
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr strikes again on his hard stance against corruption and safety negligence in the construction industry. A Few weeks ago, he announced assault charges against a superintendent and a manager after 2 construction workers were seriously injured on a jobsite. In 2016, he successfully convicted a construction foreman of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after a laborer was killed in a trench collapse that he was overseeing. Just last week, Vance announced charges against formers Turner Construction and Bloomberg LP executives in a $15M bid-rigging and commercial bribery conspiracy.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
Three common construction contract provisions—hold harmless, indemnification, and duty to defend—are often found together taking a form something like this:
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.