Policies which are downright odd.

A friend of mine on Facebook shared this policy sheet a few days ago, and I was baffled to say the least. I believe their are a lot of good individuals out there who do things to benefit both parties. I also believe there are inexperienced individuals running companies without clear guidance or direction. The above sheet can be looked at as either a practical joke or a learning experience for all. I would like to tackle each item one by one:

Sick Days:

Regular attendance is something every job requires. The job would not exist if the person did not need to show up everyday. Everyone has those days where they’re feeling blue and just can’t come into work. This policy makes me chuckle because the owner/HR department says if the person can go to the doctor, they can show up to work. Any person in their right mind would not do this to someone, especially the people responsible for running your company. Sick days are not mandatory or required by law; however, it is more of a courtesy to those who are not feeling well. 

If you ask me, I think it becomes a safety or efficiency issue by letting ill employees come to work in their current state. The employee may work in an assembly line and could get their hand caught in a belt because they can’t react as quick. Or the person could pass out and injure themselves further. Each of these scenarios are far fetched, but are also realistic. If this happens, the employer will be paying the workers compensation support for the employee for quite some time. 

Whether it was the employers or the employees fault does not matter. I would always recommend giving employees an opportunity to seek care if they’re not feeling well. It does cost you money and spreads more work across the group, but you will definitely have much happier employees. The best practice is to require the employee to call you within a certain time period before their shift and engage in a discussion with the employee. The employer should just ask if it is health related or other. If the employee says they’re ill, do not ask what is wrong with them, just ask the employee to bring a doctors note if you suspect the employee is not telling the truth. This is something which is not easy to do because some employees lie very well, but the manager/supervisor should be able to decifer whether a doctors note is needed or not. If the employee has a pattern of illness, the discussion should move into FMLA/Intermittent FMLA.

Personal Days:

Paid time off (PTO) is something the majority of employers offer; however, it is not required by law. Again, accrued benefits are not required but must follow the law if an employer decides to offer it. This employer above has a realistic approach on the matter because all employees should use their weekend to relax. 

Lunch Breaks: 

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about lunch breaks and how they’re governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Some states require lunch breaks and a minimum time for them. Louisiana is not one of them. Bona Fide lunch breaks should be no less than 30 minutes for anyone. The employee should not be engaged in work related activities. If they are, the employee should be paid for the time. This employer is talking about peoples body sizes; truthfully this reminds me of an ADA issue as some people may have a disability which causes them to be a certain size. This employer definitely is exposing themselves to potential litigation if a lawyer finds discrimination in the policy.

Dress Code:

Every employer should have one of these in place and do their best to have wording which describes what is acceptable and unacceptable attire. Whether someone is rich enough or broke should not matter as everyone should be able to dress according to the policy. If the person does not follow the dress code policy, then coaching and disciplinary action should follow. 

Bereavement Leave:

This one strikes a nerve for me; I can’t believe anyone would put something like this in writing. To say a person is dead and they can do nothing for you is just plain harsh. Yes, bereavement leave is not required by state or federal law. Any person on this earth (besides the person writing this policy) would be understanding enough to allow someone to take time off to grieve the loss of their family member or close relative. The person does not need to be paid for the time, but it is definitely a kind gesture to let the person take time to go through the grieving process. Most policies which I have seen give the person 3 days maximum for close relatives (Mom, Dad,  Brothers/Sisters, Step-Mom,Step-Dad, Spouse or Children/Step-Children) and 2 days maximum for secondary relatives (Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews). 

Restroom Use:

The ADA clearly defines how a person is considered disabled if one or more of their major life activities are not functioning properly. Bowel movements are included in their wonderful description. Telling a person they have so long to use the bathroom is something which can be considered discrimination in a sense. Some people need time and some don’t need much time. The other issue is the bathroom is a place where all individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This means a camera installed in the bathroom can infringe on a persons privacy and could potentially lead to a lawsuit. I know many people including myself would not like a picture of ourselves posted on a board for others to see. I sense a lawsuit in the horizon if this employer actually follows through on their policy.

To summarize this sheet, I think this employer is in for a rude awakening. I don’t know who would work here after reading this, I know I would approach them and let them know the laws they violate by putting some of these things in writing. I wonder why some individuals go into business if they do not like people. It definitely shows here. I had to laugh at the persons last statement of, “We are here to provide a positive employment experience,” nothing is as far from the truth. Anyone reading this, use this as a motivation of what not to do if you want to keep employees working for you.


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