Much of a small business owner’s time is spent managing employees, which requires a basic understanding of employment law and the ability to maintain a harmonious workplace.
Employees and the Internet
The Internet and email have provided easier communication with customers, vendors, and employees. Although the Internet is an asset to most, if not all, businesses, it’s also important to have Internet and email policies in place to make sure that your business won’t get into to trouble, keep your business secure, and to promote your employees’ productivity. First, it’s important to have a clear and easy to understand employee Internet and email usage policy in place. This policy should explicitly outline which websites are appropriate and which are not for employees to visit while they are working.
You should also put your employees on notice if you plan to monitor their Internet usage. Monitoring employees’ Internet use is common practice among businesses these days, and most employees have a lower expectation of privacy when they use the Internet on their work computer. It’s also common for businesses to install software that limits access to certain websites, which can keep the company computer and information secure and lower the time an employee wastes while he or she should be working.
Employee Personnel Files
It’s probably a good idea to keep a personnel file for each of your employees. These files are meant to contain job-related documents, such as offer letters, job applications, employment contracts, and information relating to the employee’s salary and benefits. You can also keep any documents relating to employee discipline and performance evaluations in an employee’s personnel file. Items that should not be kept in an employee’s file are I-9 forms and medical records. Employees’ completed I-9 forms should be kept in a separate folder, while any medical records should be kept in compliance with the rules outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As for who can access employee personnel files, it’s a good idea to keep them in a locked file cabinet and limit who can access the files. Most states allow employees to see some of the contents of their own files. Generally, employers are allowed to be present while the employee reviews his or her file so that you can ensure that the contents of the file are not altered by the employee.
Part of a manager’s job is to implement an effective employee leave program, which requires a functional understanding of federal and state leave laws. While some employers offer paid vacation and sick days as employee benefits, certain types of unpaid leave are mandatory in accordance with state and federal employment laws.
Employee Leave Policies
There are certain employee leave policies that employers are required to implement and others that are optional. For example, employers are not required to offer paid time off for vacation. However, if they do offer paid time off, it is considered to be compensation and employees must be paid out on it if the employment ends. Leave policies that employers must implement involve allowing employees to join the military, serve on a jury, or vote.
Certain employers – ones with 50 employees or more within a 75 mile radius – must also comply with the FMLA. This federal law requires employers to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a family member with a serious mental or physical health condition, or to take care of his or her own serious mental or physical health condition. Each state may also have its own mandatory leave laws, so it’s important to check the laws of your state to see what laws apply to your business.
There is a federal law that protects military service members’ jobs in the event that they choose to or are required to fulfill their military service. More specifically, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Relief Act of 1994 (USERRA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who serve in the military, and provides rights of reinstatement once they complete their military service. All employers are required to comply with the USERRA, regardless of the company’s size. The law doesn’t require an employer to pay the employee while he or she serves in the military.
The aspect of the law that requires reinstatement of employment does have certain limitations. The employee is required to give advance notice of military training or service, and the cumulative military leave must not exceed 5 years. In addition, the employee must apply for reemployment within a specified time and must have been discharged under honorable conditions. There are also certain instances in which an employer does not have to rehire a military service member. For example, if the reinstatement would create an undue hardship for the employer or if the employment was so brief that the employee would not have a reasonable expectation to return to the position.
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When you need legal help with your business in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506