The Workplace: Three Areas Of Vital Policy And Legal Protection

The importance of and potential pitfalls and consequences for ignoring legal obligations of the workplace are self-evident. Both employers and employees have need for clearly defined policies to protect themselves from potential civil and criminal liability. Each situation is unique, but policy to cover all workplace situations falls into one of three categories: contracts, health and safety, and misconduct.

Long-term employments will usually require some form of contract agreement between parties. Having a contract form defining all aspects and conditions of the employment is generally a good idea even if it is not a legal obligation. Both employer and employee are protected by such forms. They outline the rights of both parties in the agreement, the responsibilities owed to each, and what circumstances will trigger a termination of employment. These contracts also cover the rights and obligations of the employee over voluntary termination of the agreement to seek employment elsewhere. Particularly where the company’s business may run into the millions of dollars annually, contract protections are essential to provide a shield for the employer and a safety net for the employee.

Health and safety policy which is clearly formulated, and executed minimizes the physical risks to employees and legal risks for employers. Such policy accomplishes two objectives. One is protection of worker health both as a result of the actual job and medical conditions. The other is protection of the company from litigation for failure to ameliorate or eliminate potential hazards. Also, a company which does look out for employee well-being supports positive morale and thereby bolsters employee productivity.

Misconduct can take one of two forms: employer harassment of workers for retaliatory or culling purposes, and improper personal conduct. The latter could amount either to various forms of harassment or extortion, or sexual harassment and other types of unwanted personal advances. It is here that civil liabilities attach to conduct which violates social norms and the law. A company which fails to set personal conduct policy or to take steps to neutralize potential trouble is letting itself in for crippling and potentially destructive legal action.

The website has more advice on this and other topics covering legal and policy protections for businesses in a variety of situations. Becoming cognizant of these imperatives may help you safeguard your business and improve the quality of the workplace for employees. Feel free to browse the articles or contact your local attorney for more detailed advice.