#5 Retaliation

In workplace violence, we covered how to report, but when it comes to workplace violence, having a policy on how to report isn’t enough. Reporting often comes with retaliation claims. (In recent years it has been the EEOC’s most common charge). You must not only have a policy stating you will not tolerate any form of retaliation but that you will protect witnesses and others who participate in any investigation, including one of a retaliation claim. You cannot promise confidentiality for those who make retaliation complaints, but you can state that identities will only be revealed on a need-to-know basis.

Retaliation comes when an employee makes a report and is then discriminated against in any form. You can’t terminate someone because they reported inappropriate behavior.

#6 Emergency Plans

Fifty percent of employers have no emergency plan in place. Depending on where you are located in the country, you may have different natural disasters that create an emergency situation.

Tornadoes are slightly unpredictable, but how do you notify all employees to take cover? How do you handle customers in the store? They need to know where to take cover. You also need a plan to account for everyone after the fact. Hurricanes, hail storms, and earthquakes are natural disasters that you may need a plan for.

What about fire? Do your employees know your evacuation plan? What about medical emergencies? Do your employees know what to do if someone goes into Cardiac Arrest (customer or employee) or passes out in the showroom? Lastly, do you have a workplace violence emergency plan?

#7 Deductions

You would think this would be a no-brainer, but there are a lot of employers who have issues with this. Basically, you cannot deduct anything from any employee’s paycheck that you are not specifically authorized to deduct. You are authorized to make deductions for federal, state, local, and court-ordered deductions. Employees can authorize you to make deductions for benefits. Other than that, you need specific written authorization.

If the employee pays a portion of uniforms, it should be spelled out. One authorization can be written to cover the entire length of employment or until revised Repair Orders, which are not paid when a vehicle is picked up, should have a specific authorization for that repair that outlines the cost and how much will be deducted over what time frame.

If you charge for lost keys, lost plates, or toll passes, you should have a policy in place to address the responsibilities and replacement policies.

Every pay advance should be on a separate authorization and outline how much was provided and the terms of repayment.

One that is often overlooked is cash spiffs. Do you have a policy in place that outlines and explains that all cash spiffs paid are taxable income and will appear as a future paycheck (income) so it may be taxed and then deducted since it was already provided in cash to the employee? If you don’t, you should have.

#8 Wages

Your policy should state that all employees will clock in and out for lunch breaks and that they are required to leave their desk. This will keep you from potentially facing a claim of “I worked through my lunch.”

All employee handbooks need to state that employees may not work overtime without advance (written) permission from their direct supervisor and that supervisors may discipline employees after they work unapproved overtime. This does not mean you can avoid paying them! It means you can and should start your disciplinary reprimand protocol if the policy is violated.

It’s Time to Look at Your Policies!

It just might be time to review your employee handbook policies and update a few, but when you do, try to steer clear of the Rube Goldberg effect (if possible).