THE SHOP

July '20

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12 THE SHOP JULY 2020 compliance with the FMLA can create a condition in which you are covered by that law even if you normally would not be." And watch out for seemingly innocuous requirements that can land a business in hot water as well. "Some policies that seem good on their surface can violate federal, state or local laws," says Potts. "For example, an employer might state that departing employees must turn in company property such as cell phones or laptops before a final check is cut. That can be illegal in some states." Employers with operations in more than one state face special hurdles, he adds. "A policy that is legal in one state may violate the law in another." In a related area, be aware of city and state laws and regulations that can require you to follow specific policies and prohibit others. "Many cities have laws covering such areas as family and sick leave," says Beth Brascugli De Lima, president and prin- cipal of HRM Consulting Inc., Murphys, California (hrmconsulting.com). "We are seeing this trend grow very quickly, espe- cially in the larger urban areas." Some policies are best left out of the manual altogether. Suppose an employee will be late coming to work. Whom should they call? And how far in advance? These are spe- cifics that you might want to communicate orally, to avoid tying down your operations to procedures you might want to change later in response to changing conditions. That last point suggests a larger issue: A handbook can end up creating too many restrictions for the business. Indeed, that is precisely the reason why some companies eye them with suspicion. "Many employers fear getting locked into the handbook's wording," says Potts. "But that problem can be avoided if the handbook is written correctly." As the above comments suggest, writing an employee handbook can be a chal- lenging task. "It's a mistake to try to write the handout on your own," Avdoian believes. "If you don't have a human resources professional on your staff, you need to consult an HR expert and make sure an attorney reviews the document, so you are in compliance with federal, state and local laws." ALL ABOARD The employee handbook does not have to be a big, glossy production. It can be as simple as a half-inch-thick three-ring Business By the Book Make sure everyone understands the policies must be followed consistently. The battery charger The battery charger for modern vehicles for modern vehicles FAST FAST 4 Amps 4 Amps 100% SAFE 100% SAFE TM221 optimate1.com i i

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