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
OSHA currently controls over 20 laws that protect workers who file safety complaints against their employer or other employees. In general, whistleblowers are protected against retaliation from their employer.
In August of 2016, it was discovered that a luxury high rise condominium complex in San Francisco, which houses several celebrities, was sinking and leaning considerably. The 58-story Millennium Tower contains home that range in value of anywhere from $1.6 million to $10 million. Since the discovery, fingers have been pointed in all directions and several lawsuits have been filed.
In January of this year, tragedy struck a Florida construction company when 3 construction workers died while working underground below a newly paved road. After the first worker entered the hole and collapsed after entering the confined space through a manhole, the second went in to rescue him and also collapsed, followed by the third. After a post-incident investigation, OSHA has released their findings, as well as several fines.
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The worst day on the job is when someone on site gets injured. The 2nd through 500th worst days are the legal battle that follows many of those injuries. Nobody expects accidents to happen, but it’s best to be adequately prepared if one does. That not only includes knowing how to react to injuries with a safety plan, but also making sure your company’s documentation is in order in case lawsuits start flying.