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Employee Handbook Traps to Avoid: Mid-Year Policy Updates, Drafting & Enforcement Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble

Employee Handbook Traps to Avoid: Mid-Year Policy Updates, Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble - On-Demand

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Employee Handbook Traps to Avoid: Mid-Year Policy Updates, Drafting & Enforcement Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble - On-Demand

Webinar now available On-Demand.

WEBINAR SNAPSHOT: Learn how to update your employee handbook to ensure compliance with the latest federal legislation, regulations, and court rulings and avoid common drafting “traps” that can lead to legal liability for your company.


The employee handbook is an essential tool for HR. Regular review and updating of the employee handbook is also important to ensure that you’re keeping up with legal and regulatory changes. 

Consider, for example, the 2016 National Labor Relations Board decision in T-Mobile U.S.A. Inc., which indicates that restrictive policies—even those that seem innocuous, such as telling employees to maintain a positive work environment—could violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 

And, depending on where you operate, your policies may have to be adjusted to address guns and weapons in parking lots and other employer-owned or controlled locations. That’s because many states now allow gun owners to keep their licensed firearms in their locked car in the parking lot; only careful handbook drafting will keep guns out of your workplace itself. 

There are a number of other important questions you should be prepared to answer depending on your particular situation, such as: 

  • Do we need to include a handbook section about the Form I-9? If so, what exactly do we need to include? 
  • Can public-sector employees be considered “at will”? 
  • Are there specific HR policies for nonprofits? Is there anything that should be added for a standard HR policy manual?
  • How does the employer's size affect what should be included in the employee handbook? In other words, are there essential elements that small employers (under 50 workers) and larger employers (50-plus employees) should include and why? 

Use this on-demand webinar for a succinct review of recent developments impacting employee handbook policy updates nationwide and legal insights into employee handbook policy drafting and policy enforcement mistakes to avoid. 

Plus, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Craft an employee handbook that covers the policies you need to share 
  • Review your current employee handbook with a critical eye to determine how it needs to be updated, and when 
  • Examples of employee handbook policy updates that may be necessary given recent developments related to: 
    • smoking and vaping 
    • guns and weapons on your premises 
    • social media, recording, and communications policies 
    • dress codes and grooming 
    • fair compensation 
    • confidentiality and non-disclosure of wages 
    • paid leave benefits 
    • background checks 
  • Avoid including statements that can be interpreted in legally risky ways 
  • Recognize what to include in your handbook, including a disclaimer to ensure the handbook may be changed at any time 
  • Include correct language to protect you legally, including an integrated at-will agreement 
  • Evaluate which policies you should always include—no matter how obvious they appear to be 


Employee Handbook Traps to Avoid: Mid-Year Policy Updates, Drafting & Enforcement Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble

Michelli Rivera, Esq.Michelli Rivera, Esq. 
Fisher Phillips, LLP 

Michelli Rivera is an associate attorney in Fisher Phillips, LLP’s Atlanta office. She represents clients in all areas of labor and employment law including employment discrimination claims, wrongful termination claims, wage and hour disputes and audits, Fair Credit Reporting Act claims, non-compete and restrictive covenants, and federal contractor compliance. Ms. Rivera specializes in compliance, training, and prevention. She has assisted clients of all sizes across various industries in reviewing and updating employee handbooks and onboarding documents. 

Have a specific question related to the topic of this audio conference? Post it here and get an answer during the event, time permitting, or in a follow-up e-mail from the audio conference presenter. This is only available to audio conference registrants.

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