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Starting the New Year Right: a 2015 Employment Law Checklist

The start of a new year is a great time for new beginnings – including with your employment-related policies and practices. To help you in your efforts, here is a short checklist of items to consider for 2015. While this list is by no means comprehensive, acting on just these few, manageable items now can save you headaches later. 

  • Review your employee handbooks and policies. Ideally, companies should regularly review their handbooks and personnel polices to ensure legal compliance and best business practices. Because of frequent changes to the law and the development of best practices, policies may quickly become outdated or unlawful. For example, your organization may need to revise its electronic communications policies in light of the recent National Labor Relations Board decision holding that certain limitations on your employees' ability to communicate through employer-provided e-mail violate the law. In addition to legal changes through case law, many states have implemented additional rights for employees and/or restrictions on employers.
  • Review job descriptions. Accurate job descriptions can be helpful to HR in a number of ways: they provide clear job requirements to applicants, help in crafting ADA accommodations, and can guide the FLSA classification process. But jobs change with time, necessitating periodic updates to job descriptions. This is even more true in 2015 because the U.S. Department of Labor is set to release new rules for the classification of employees under the “White Collar” FLSA exemptions. An accurate job description will be the first step in making sure your classifications are consistent with any new rules.
  • Review employment-related agreements. If you haven't taken a look at your separation and employment agreements recently, they may be open to challenge. As we addressed in our November 17, 2014 elert, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against companies challenging the validity of non-disparagement, confidentiality, and cooperation provisions, which the EEOC views as unfairly restricting employees from cooperating with its investigations or litigation.
  • Review restrictive covenants. Finally, if you have not reviewed your employment agreements recently, particularly those with restrictive covenants such as non-competition and confidentiality provisions, you should take a few minutes to do so. We regularly come across out-of-date provisions that are unenforceable or fail to take advantage of changes in the law.

If you have any questions about this checklist or need help ensuring that your policies are 2015-ready, please contact an Elarbee Thompson attorney or respond to this email.