July '20

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10 THE SHOP JULY 2020 "You should also tell medical providers you do not want information about your employees' family medical history," says Gregg. When communicating with your busi- ness about medical topics, the providers should use general language. For example, the physician might state "Mary has a serious medical condition" rather than "Mary is absent for a heart condition that is common to her family." WHAT TO OMIT Handbooks can be a double-edged sword. While they can help protect you from charges of discrimination or other illegal personnel acts, they can also create legal problems of their own. "Handbooks can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing," cautions Gregg. He gives one example: Including poorly written statements in your handbook can affect the employment at will status nor- mally enjoyed by businesses. "It's easy to fall into the trap of creating a contract of employment," he states. For example, you may be tempted to include morale-boosting statements such as "You will always be treated fairly here" or "We know you will enjoy your long-term employment" or "Our policy is to promote from within." These can end up coming back to haunt you later when a disgruntled worker sues for a perceived violation of promises that he or she considers contractual. There's more. "Avoid falling into the trap of including policies that are not required by law," says Gregg. "Suppose, for example, your business has only 30 employees. You are not required to comply with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. Including a page about Business By the Book Researched, written, published, distributed and signed off on. Once you have com- pleted the employee handbook cycle, you have positioned your business to operate more efficiently and profitably.

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