The beginning of a new year can be the perfect opportunity for employers to assess how – and if – an employee handbook is holding up.

This is particularly true in 2018 as numerous legislative changes have been made or proposed. Here, we examine various elements of an employee handbook that employers may need to revise, remove or add in order to preserve its effectiveness in the year ahead.

Sexual harassment policies
It is as important as ever to have strong sexual harassment policies in place. In 2017, there was something of a watershed moment with regard to sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, as noted in this SHRM article, California recently expanded requirements for harassment prevention training. As such, it is crucial for employers to ensure they have solid policies for addressing, investigating and reporting workplace harassment.

Drug use policies
Recently, legislative changes have been made with regard to the legalization of marijuana in California as well as to policies regarding federal prosecution of drug laws in states where the drug is legalized. With the subject in the national spotlight, employers would be wise to review what their handbook says about drug use and testing policies.

Parental leave policies
California is expanding parental leave laws this year, so it is vital for businesses to review leave policies. This is especially true for companies with 20-49 employees who are now required to offer job-protected leave for parents.

These are just a few of the policies that could require updating in light of changing laws and changing attitudes; there could very well be others you discover in a thorough review of your handbook.

Workplace disputes can be very costly for both employers and employees. Avoiding them by having in place a comprehensive, updated handbook can prove to be a wise decision. Should you have questions or concerns about any elements of your company’s handbook, you can consult an attorney familiar with employment law cases in California.