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Update Your Employee Handbook, Comply With New NLRB Rule

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Update Your Employee Handbook, Comply With New NLRB Rule

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Employee handbook

If your medical practice’s employee handbook was written more than a month ago, it’s probably time to update it. Why? Because the latest National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling has turned the employee handbook rules upside-down, requiring you to use new language if you want to stay on the right side of the law.

Get a handle on the new NLRB standards and what your new employee handbook updates should look like.

NLRB Highlights Employee-Friendly Focus

The latest ruling came from the NLRB’s decision in a case known as Stericycle, Inc. In short, the ruling gives more protection to employees than in the past. Previously, employers were allowed to create broad regulations that in some cases, employees interpreted differently than their employers did. Previous rulings sided with the intent that the employer had when writing the rules, but that’s no longer the case.

At issue: The case investigated a policy around employee handbooks that said employees had to act “civilly and refrain from damaging the employer’s reputation” across the board. In Stericycle, the NLRB rules that this standard was overly broad, and employees had difficulty interpreting exactly what the quoted section above actually covered.

New standard: According to the NLRB’s August 2023 ruling, such rules will now be interpreted not from the employer’s perspective, but instead from the employee’s perspective. Would a staff member who is financially dependent on a paycheck from that employer be able to interpret the rule? If not, then it’s not valid.

Update Your Employee Handbook

Your employee handbook must now not only comply with local, state and federal laws, but also with the latest NLRB ruling, ensuring that your rules are created with employee interpretation in mind rather than being viewed through the employer’s lens.

This will likely require your practice to bring on a qualified employment law attorney who is able to identify the areas where updates are necessary and can help you create verbiage that falls under the updated legal interpretation. For instance, an HR lawyer might note that you have a policy restricting employees from discussing your CEO when they’re off the clock, and may determine that such a policy is too broad to fit within the NLRB’s updated ruling.

Only by working with a qualified attorney or consultant can you ensure that your practice is compliant with the latest regulations, and ignoring the new rule is not an option. Your best bet is to get your employee handbook updated immediately to avoid accusations, lawsuits, fines and penalties that could come your way if you don’t comply.

Seeking more information about HR best practices at your medical office? Let HR expert Lori Kleiman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, walk you through the essential steps you need to stay compliant. During her 60-minute online training, Comply With FLSA Employment Law, Stop Penalties, Lori will show you the winning strategies that every practice needs. Register today!


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