With all the legislative developments in Connecticut over the last year or so, it’s tough to keep track of all of the changes that your company needs to consider to update your employee handbook and employment policies.
Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the changes to consider with a link to more information on each of them.
1) For your EEO policies, be sure to add “gender identity” as a protected category. You may also want to consider adding language that your company will not discriminate based on “any other protected category under state or federal law” to protect you.
2) With the passage of GINA and the issuance of new regulations last fall, “genetic information” should also be listed as a protected category. (It was already protected in Connecticut.) But also be sure to consider adding “safe harbor” information, which I’ve discussed in a prior post too.
3) I’ve discussed the new paid sick leave provisions ad nauseum (pun intended). If you haven’t started work to update your policies or consider whether you’re existing policies may cover your company, now’s the time to do so. Coverage starts January 1, 2012.
4) Do you use credit reports to make employment decisions? Do you have a policy regarding the usage and do you managers know what is proper? A new Connecticut law restricts the use of them in many circumstances.
5) Last fall, new protections for family violence victims also went into effect. This includes something known as family violence victim leave. You may want to update your policies to address this situation as well.
6) Buried deep in the new federal health care law last year were provisions to allow new mothers a reasonable break time to express breast milk. This new law will work in conjunction with Connecticut’s existing law as well. You may want to put something in your handbook to inform employees of this right and to educate managers and supervisors as well.
7) And while not a legislative development, the new level of enforcement by the NLRB on social media usage by employees may be a reason to update your policies. I talked about that in a post earlier this year.
There are, of course, several other items that you may want to consider for your employee handbook. Be sure to check with an attorney or a human resources consultant when updating yours.