Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Ten Most Important Rules for Employers

Despite the complexity of employment law and the speed with which the law, technology, and the workplace are changing, there are a few basic principles that capture the best advice we can give to employers.  They’re not a substitute for understanding legal obligations, but they are, in our experience, an excellent foundation for the employer-employee relationship.  Here goes:
  1. Don’t make promises to your employees that you can’t or won’t keep.
  2. Don’t ever consider protected class status (like race or age or gender) when making employment-related decisions, and don’t allow your managers and supervisors to do so.
  3. Don’t change the rules for your employees without notice.
  4. Don’t have different rules or standards for different employees without a very good reason.
  5. Don’t make employment decisions in anger, and don’t allow your managers and supervisors to do so.
  6. Don’t make employment decisions without considering all the consequences.
  7. Tell employees the truth about your expectations and their performance.
  8. Insist that your managers and supervisors model the behavior you expect of your employees.
  9. Make sure your human resources staff is well trained, current on the law, and supported by management.
  10. Keep personnel matters and personnel information truly confidential.  Discipline managers and supervisors who breach confidentiality.
These rules won’t write a discrimination charge response for you, and they don’t have the formula for figuring out whether a position is exempt or non-exempt.  There is always a lot of work to do to create and implement best employment practices (see Rule 9) and there will always be human error.  Employment lawyers will tell you, however, that failing to follow one or more of these rules is where the great majority of employment issues begin.
Note:  This post is based on parts of an article by the author that was previously published in Inside the Minds: Leading Labor Lawyers (2002).

Posted by 
Judy Langevin