As we approach the end of another year, there are a lot of things to keep in mind regarding your business and your employees. Here are just a couple of quick thoughts and items for your end of year checklist:
- Holiday Parties – Many people are already aware of the dangers created by holiday parties with respect to potential sexual harassment claims and worries about alcohol-induced issues. Beyond that, though, employers should be aware of religious discrimination and harassment concerns regarding holiday parties. Religious belief accommodations should be thoroughly examined so that any employee with a sincerely held religious belief is not made to feel that he or she is being subjected to religious discrimination. Furthermore, be aware of wage and hour issues. Specifically, if the party is after hours and also required, it is considered work time and you should be compensating your employees for their time at the party.
- Performance Reviews – Every company should be completing some form of performance review, whether that is a formalized process or an ongoing performance management process. It is important to be honest, thorough and objective. These reviews are critical to later employment decisions, including disciplinary actions. They also almost always are relied upon in any future lawsuits so be mindful that what you are writing potentially will be seen by an opposing lawyer and used against you.
- Policy Updates – The end of the year is an excellent time to ensure that your employee handbooks and personnel policies are put to date with any new laws or regulations that go into effect at the beginning of the next year. The last thing you want to be doing in January is updating policies and procedures that are already legally required.
So while this time of year is a time for celebration and a time to reflect on the past year, it is also a time to prepare for the next year. Get a jump start on things and start your next year off right!