How Your Employment Policies Shape Your Practice

Posted By Mike Meyer, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

employee handbook

By Renee E. Coover, JD, ByrdAdatto

Policies are to employees of a business what rules are to the players of a game. Employment policies act as a framework for how a business is managed and employees are expected to conduct themselves at work; at the same time, these policies protect the business and reduce the risk of liability. For anyone who has watched a few kids playing a game together, it is pretty obvious why rules are important, and why it's a good idea to write them down.

Many employers, especially small businesses, neglect to put basic employment policies in writing. When the business starts growing, the limits of this approach become obvious. No one wants to focus on the negative, but employment disputes can and will arise in many businesses. Having policies established in clear and simple terms helps to reduce employer liability and limit the damage when disputes arise. In the event that an employment dispute leads to litigation, written policies also can be essential in ensuring a swift and fair outcome for the business.

Here are three key employment policies to consider implementing in your business today.

  1. Employee handbook. An employee handbook is a key asset with which any business can communicate written policies and promote fairness and consistency in the workplace. An employee handbook also can be incredibly useful in building a positive workplace culture and employee loyalty, if written properly. Every business should take the opportunity in its employee handbook to introduce company culture, as well as the mission and values of the business; set expectations in an employee code of conduct; and ensure regulatory compliance with state and federal laws governing the business and workplace.
  2. Internal processes and procedures. While often overlooked, creating a framework for business operations through consistent internal processes is crucial for running a successful business. In the health care field, this could mean outlining safety policies, developing a HIPAA compliance policy or creating standard operating procedures for every medical procedure performed by providers of the business. In the retail sector, this could mean developing customer service policies, credit and payment policies, and even safety and security policies. In every business, developing written policies to guide management through day-to-day operations is a key driver of success.
  3. Anti-harassment policies and training. Since harassment cuts across all professional industries, employers, both big and small, should develop and implement updated anti-harassment policies. If a business currently does not have a written policy against workplace harassment, it is absolutely time to get one. It is helpful to add specific examples of unacceptable conduct and consequences for violating the policy. Most importantly, employers should be sure that every employee has received the anti-harassment policy and acknowledged its receipt in writing. The policy is only as good as its implementers, so training all levels of management and each employee on harassment policies is crucial to follow-through. Conducting yearly anti-harassment training for all levels of employment is both preventative and proactive.

AmSpa members receive a complimentary 20-minute Introductory Compliance Assessment with a ByrdAdatto attorney. Click here to learn how to join AmSpa today!

Renee E. Coover, JD, is an associate with ByrdAdatto, a law firm focusing on business, healthcare, and aesthetics. She has a unique background, blending litigation with healthcare law. A former litigator in high-stakes employment cases, Renee has extensive experience with counseling and representing businesses in employment matters, policies, and contract disputes, and defending business owners in state and federal trials. She has also served as General Counsel for the American Med Spa Association, advising health care professionals on regulatory and legal issues governing the medical spa industry.

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