What Should Be In Your Employee Handbook In North Carolina?
An employee handbook is a document that outlines a business’s policies, procedures, expectations of its employees, and rules. The handbook also lets employees know what they can expect from their employer and the management staff members who represent the company.
Employee handbooks are usually given to newly hired employees along with a document to sign that acknowledges receipt of the employee handbook and states that the employee is agreeing to the terms that they have read. Knowing what to include in your employee handbook in North Carolina can help to ensure that all employees have a clear understanding of how your company operates.
Equal Employment Opportunity
The state of North Carolina works to provide equal employment opportunities to all those who apply for and obtain, employment within the state. This means that discrimination, all forms of harassment, and retaliation based upon religion, national origin, ethnicity, race, pregnancy, sex, age, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, disability, genetic information, veteran or National Guard status are prohibited.
A workplace that is efficient and effective promotes diversity and inclusion among qualified individuals. The employee handbook should include your company’s policy regarding its commitment to equal opportunity in your field.
Anti-Harassment and Anti-Retaliation
Employees have the right to work in an environment free of harassment. Your company’s employee handbook should contain your company’s policy regarding anti-harassment and the consequences to those who are accused of harassing their fellow employees.
Employees also have the right to work without fear of retaliation should they report another employee of harassment or of violating other company policies. Both policies should be included within the company’s employee handbook and made available to all new employees upon their job placement.
At-will Nature of Employment
Employees have the right to leave their job at any time for any reason without incurring adverse legal consequences. Likewise, an employer is free to terminate an employee at any time for any legal reason or for no reason without facing any legal liability.
Terminating employees under at-will employment means that no warning needs to be given and no cause has to be provided. It also means that employees can leave their job without offering an explanation or providing any notice.
Including this policy in your company employee handbook lets employees know their rights and protects the company should the need to terminate an employee arise.
General Employment Information
Including general information about employment in the handbook could answer some of the most common questions your new employees may have. Information to consider including is safety and security policies, company code of conduct, dress code policies, and any other generalized information that you feel your new employees would benefit from having. Any details that would not fit under any other section of the handbook should be included as general information.
Pay Policies and Benefits
All questions pertaining to pay for employment should be answered within the pages of your employee handbook. Information on paydays, timekeeping methods, meal periods, and overtime eligibility should all be found in the employee handbook.
Also, employees should find information regarding the company benefits that they are eligible for. These benefits can include employee discounts, health insurance, disability insurance, dental and vision insurance, paid time off, the ability to work remotely, and more.
The employee handbook should also contain clear and concise policies regarding all types of leave. If your business has fifty or more employees then it should have a Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy.
The FMLA provides employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid, leave each year. The handbook should include a description of the company’s sick leave policy and how to benefit from it along with the paid vacation policy.
Complaint Filing Process
Complaints are a standard part of operating any company and your organization should have a policy in place for how to go about filing a formal complaint. Outline your company’s policy within the employee handbook to ensure all complaints adhere to the same format. Explain to employees how to go about lodging their complaint formally and include what the employee can expect to happen after the complaint is filed.
Our North Carolina Employment Attorneys Can Help
Establishing an employee handbook can be a time-consuming process when done correctly, but it is worth the time spent. Having an employee handbook on record protects your company and gives your employees a chance to learn the company’s policies and procedures. Knowing what to include in your employee handbook in North Carolina will make the process of creating your handbook easier to manage.
The employment law team at Green Mistretta Law can help advise you on these issues and more to ensure you stay within the law as you craft your employment handbook and navigate other employment law scenarios. Call us today to schedule a consultation with our team!