Gavel to Gavel: Review your policies

January 2015

The Journal Record

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As we jump into 2015, many employers are (or really should be) reviewing their employment practices and guidelines to ensure a more efficient and productive 2015. Below are four areas every employer should address: 

  • Social media policy: Everyone, from ages 5 to 100, seems to have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or other social media account. Oklahoma has enacted new statutes relating to an employer’s right to or not to access these accounts. Review the company’s policies on the use of electronic communications. Review whether the policy addresses how and when the company name is used, accessibility of the websites on company-owned devices and through company-owned accounts, and if the policy meets state and federal guidelines.
  • Who is entitled to overtime: Just because the company pays an employee a salary does not guarantee the employee is not entitled to overtime if he or she works more than 40 hours in a workweek. The Department of Labor reviews the employee’s job duties and responsibilities, not the employee title. Employees should be classified as
  • exempt or nonexempt, not salaried or hourly. What’s the danger of incorrect classification? Back wages for three years, liquidated damages and attorney fees.
  • Health care: In 2015, large employers (generally those with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees) will have annual reporting responsibilities concerning whether and what health insurance they offered to their full-time employees, if any. If an employer does not offer adequate, affordable coverage to full-time employees and one or more of those employees get a Premium Tax Credit, the employer may be subject to fines.
  • Restraint of trade: In Oklahoma, an employer cannot prohibit a former employee from engaging in the same business as that conducted by the former employer. But, it can place restrictions on the use of confidential information and the direct solicitation of established customers of the former employer. Review your employment agreements to ensure your trade and business secrets are protected.

Reviewing these four areas now can help alleviate confusion for both employers and employees down the road.

This article originally appeared in the January 14, 2015 issue of The Journal Record. It is reproduced with permission from the publisher.© The Journal Record Publishing Co.