Employment Law Advisor

Ring In The New Year With These Employment Law Resolutions

January 1, 2015

What better way to ring in 2015 than by making sure your employment law practices are in order?  Here are some tips to help make sure your workplace has a happy 2015:

  1. Distribute your company’s sexual harassment policy.  Massachusetts law requires that employers with six or more employees not only have a sexual harassment policy and give it out to new employees when they start work, but also that an individual copy be distributed to each employee annually.  The beginning of the year is a good time to do this.  Have employees sign an acknowledgement form indicating that they have received and read the policy, and keep it in their personnel file.  Anti-harassment training can be conducted at the same time.
  2. Make sure reviews are up to date and on schedule for the year to come.  Performance reviews are a great management tool, but only if they actually happen.  Try having managers’ performance reviews include evaluating how well they conduct their subordinates’ reviews, as this may help ensure that employee reviews get done on time and with greater attention.
  3. Resolve to help managers do a better job with documentation of performance and discipline.  Conduct training for managers, especially new ones, on this important topic. 
  4. Update handbooks and policies to include any changes that have taken place over the past year, eliminate policies that are no longer in effect, and incorporate changes that are anticipated for 2015.  For example, your handbook should now include a policy regarding leave for victims of domestic violence, in connection with the law that went into effect in Massachusetts in August, 2014.
  5. Think about how your company will comply with the new Massachusetts paid sick leave requirement which goes into effect on July 1, 2015 – do you have a sick leave policy that might already comply, with just a few tweaks, or will you have to adopt a substantially new policy?
  6. Conduct a wage/hour audit to evaluate your company’s compliance with the wage and hour laws, including exempt status, employee vs. independent contractor status, overtime, and meal break issues.  Violation of Massachusetts’ wage laws can carry severe penalties, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees.
  7. Make sure to post up to date versions of the posters required by state and federal law.
  8. Confirm that your company’s commission and bonus plans are in writing, and address what happens when an employee’s employment comes to an end.
  9. Review your company’s proprietary information agreements to make sure they accurately reflect the current state of your company’s information and trade secrets.
  10. Put a “WISP” (Written Information Security Plan) into place, if you don’t have one already, to comply with Massachusetts law and protect personal information.

If you have questions about any of the above suggestions, please contact a member of Morse’s Employment Law Group.

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