March 13, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- The first quarter of the year is a good time for business owners to review their employee handbooks. Yearly reviews and updates will make sure that a company's handbook takes into consideration updates in the law and continues to limit liability.
Topics to consider for 2013 include the use of criminal background checks to screen potential candidates and social media policies. An employment law attorney
can provide counsel and review a current handbook to make sure these issues are adequately addressed.
This article will summarize some of the reasons why these topics should be included in a thorough review of an employee handbook.
Many employment applications have a standard check the box, if convicted of a crime or specifically a felony. This standard question got a closer look from the EEOC last year. In an April ruling, the agency provided guidance to employers that using an individual's criminal history could violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating of the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
It was posited that use of criminal background checks can potentially exclude minorities from candidate pools. This can be more common when an employer does not limit the relevant timeframe for a job. Employers should review policies and ensure that criminal background checks are not blanket provisions. A written policy should include the following:
- Essential job functions, which is important to show why an offense is relevant to the position
- A specific look back period, 20 years or maybe just the last 5 years
- What specific offenses make a person unfit for the position
In hiring for a position that will be working with vulnerable adults, for example, an employee forms a close relationship. It may be relevant to review an applicant's full criminal history for any charges or convictions for criminal sexual conduct.
Over the last few years, the numbers of Facebook and Twitter users have exploded. Many companies have tried to write policies limiting social media use by employees.
Employers need to tread carefully when drafting a social media policy. If drafted too broadly these policies could violate the National Labor Relations Act, which encourages collective bargaining. For instance, a policy restricting employees from making negative remarks against an employer might be a violation if it restricts the ability of those employees to seek improvements to their working conditions.
Legal changes necessitate a yearly review of employee handbooks to make sure that they remain current. If your company needs help drafting an employee handbook or is due for a yearly review, contact an experienced business law attorney.
Article provided by Stavros Law, P.C.
Visit us at www.stavroslaw.com/---
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