Hiring your first employees can be an exciting experience—after all, it usually means your operation is growing and your revenue is increasing. Employees can add a significant number of responsibilities and potential legal issues to a business owner, however, including the many laws regarding wages, hours, anti-discrimination, taxes, and more.
Many owners—particularly of smaller companies—do not consider creating a set of employee policies. If you only have a couple of employees, it can be all too tempting to just play it by ear and handle situations as they arise. If you do not have clear policies in place, however, this can lead to issues with your employees.
For example, if you are flexible with time off and work schedules, you may unintentionally give one employee more leeway than another. The second employee—who may have been keeping close track—may then accuse you of unlawful discrimination based on scheduling flexibility. If you had a written policy in place regarding scheduling, it is easier to apply that policy evenly to all employees to prevent disputes from arising.
Employee policies should be skillfully drafted and published in an employee handbook, which should be made readily available to all employees. Policies can address the following and more:
- Hours worked and scheduling flexibility
- Absences and tardiness
- Dress codes
- Wages, pay increases, and bonuses
- Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment
- Internet use
- Time off and leave
- Problem resolution
- Disciplinary processes
- At-will employment (which is the standard in New York)
Of course, you will want to address issues related specifically to your type of business. Your employee handbook should be specifically tailored to your operation.
At Braverman Law PC, we help business with legal issues and represent employees in wage and hour disputes. Therefore, we have a unique perspective when it comes to crafting employee policies in a manner that helps to prevent and resolve disputes. Because we are familiar with the issues that often lead to disputes, we are able to address these on the front end by drafting effective policies regarding employee issues.
If you have clearly expressed and reasonable policies in place, and you apply these policies equally to all employees, you can refer to a policy when an employee claims unfair treatment. In addition, if an employee brings a legal claim against your company, you can use your policies as a defense against any unfair allegations.
Ask How a New York Business Law Firm Can Help You
Having fair employee policies in place and notifying your workforce about these policies is an important way to improve your operations and avoid legal liabilities. It is always helpful to have the assistance of a business law attorney who understands how policies work for both employees and business owners. At Braverman Law PC, we can assist you in crafting effective policies that increase morale and productivity and limit liability. Call our office at (212) 206-8166 or contact us online for more information.