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By Sanjeev Kumar
Founding Attorney

What new laws have come into effect that should be reflected in my employee handbook?

The New Year is a time to make goals and set new standards.  For business owners, the New Year can represent a chance for a fresh start and a time to herald in needed changes.  If you are a business owner who does not have an employee handbook or have not updated your handbook in several years, now is the time to act.  With ever shifting business laws both federally and in Texas, Texas business owners should start to plan now for what updates should be made to their employee handbook come January 1.

Those Without a Handbook Need One

Any employer who has not yet developed an employee handbook should use this New Year as incentive to take the critical step of making one.  Your employee handbook will provide vital legal protections for you and your business, as well as aid in the smooth transaction of your business.  Within your handbook, you will want to set out your policies for illegal harassment in the workplace, any safety issues, pay matters, discipline policies, and more.  Sit down with a business law attorney as soon as possible to get started drafting a customized employee handbook that will protect your business.

Update Your Sexual Harassment Policy

The year 2018 has heralded in a new focus on sexual harassment.  During 2018, the #MeToo movement exploded and employers across the nation have paid close attention.  With more sexual harassment cases being filed across the country, now is the time to review your sexual harassment policies to be sure your employees and your business is adequately protected.  Your sexual harassment policy should include a thorough and clear description of how employees should report any inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

Consider an Employee Acknowledgement and Training

An employee acknowledgment is used to demonstrate that an employee has received a handbook or an update to an employee handbook.  Employees should receive an acknowledgment at first receipt of the handbook and after any significant alterations. With an acknowledgment, the employer can also reiterate vital at-will policies and notify employees as to how they can complain about anything found within the handbook.  Employers can further consider offering training as to new policies. Texas employers should act now to meet with a business law lawyer who can prepare them for the fresh new year ahead.

About the Author
Sanjeev Kumar is the founder and principal at the Kumar Law Firm, which provides a wide range of legal services to entrepreneurs and business owners in the area of business & corporate law and intellectual property along with related areas of interest to clients such as business succession planning, wealth preservation through estate planning, and alternate dispute resolution.