In the last column, we discussed labor law issues primarily from the perspective of employees. This column will discuss the best practices that businesses, especially small businesses, should follow.
1. Do you keep good and complete records? Small business owners, in particular, should keep records of their number of employees, payroll, tax records, days and hours worked, disciplinary action, and any written reasons for termination. The files often tell the real facts. And from an employee’s perspective, it’s hard to get them to meet a standard they aren’t fully aware of. If a wrongful dismissal claim is made against your business, a clearly stated standard that actually says, “I told you so,” goes a long way in protecting your business.
2. Do you have an accountant or CPA who is familiar with how your business works? An accountant can help you keep solid records on the operation of your business, including how you pay your employees and your payment of necessary FICA payments.
3. Maintain an employee manual that lists all company policies and practices. Depending on the circumstances, a knowledgeable person who has dealt with standard HR policies can do a lot to build a solid list of rules and “do’s and don’ts”.
4. Do you apply your policies to all employees consistently and fairly? Actions documented by employees are best practice. If you apply your policies inconsistently or unfairly, it will work against the company if you appear to be showing favoritism.