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Three Employment Policies Every Employer Should Have

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What are the three most important employment policies that every business should have?  Every business should have an employment policy on substance abuse, sexual harassment and employee email privacy.  By having these policies, an employer helps to prevent litigation against the employer for issues that arise in any of these areas.

An employment policy dealing with substance abuse is critical.  An employer who has an employee who has a substance abuse problem must then follow the procedures in the policy.  Having the policy allows an employee the ability to come to the employer, knowing that there is a procedure in place that the employer will follow.  Claims by the employee that the employer is disciplining him/her or treating him or her differently due to his or her substance abuse, can be minimized if there is a strong substance abuse policy in place.  Remember that legally, substance abuse is considered a health issue and a disability so employers may not discriminate or take actions that are based on that disability.

An employment policy concerning sexual harassment is also very important to the health of a business.  It is imperative for a business to have a strong sexual harassment policy in place that allows an employee who claims sexual harassment in the workplace to be able to have a mechanism to file a grievance and be heard. Having a sexual harassment policy not only provides the business with the procedures that must be followed if a claim arises, but it also provides an employee with an opportunity to express his or her situation as well as a venue for the claimed offender to also be heard. This policy may deter aggrieved employees from filing suit against the employer.  In addition, if a suit is filed, the employer’s well-written sexual harassment policy could eliminate possible liability that the employer may otherwise have.

Lastly, it is important to have an employment policy related to email privacy. This has become a hot topic in employment law. Employees need to know that emails sent and received on their employer’s computer or on their employer’s email account are not private and that an employer has the right to read each and every one of them.  Whether an employee is using his or her own computer, but the employer’s email account, or the employer’s computer and his or her own email account, an employee should not expect that such actions are private.  The policy should state very clearly that an employee may not use the employer’s computers for anything other than employer’s business purposes and that all of employer’s computers and email accounts are subject to inspection by employer or its agents and all content on such computers and email accounts may be reviewed by employer or its agents. Having such a policy may help prevent an employee from any claims that such employee had an expectation of privacy.

If you are interested in employment policies for your business, speak with Nancy Lanard, Senior Partner at Lanard and Associates, at 215-392-0030 x101 for a free consultation on your business goals and how the attorneys at Lanard and Associates can help you reach those goals.