As 2014 comes to a close, employers should consider reviewing and, if necessary, updating handbooks, policies, and employment agreements. Organizations sometimes devote significant resources to developing policies or handbooks, but if they are not regularly updated or revised, the policies and handbooks may not be particularly useful. In fact, an outdated policy may end up causing confusion among employees and managers, or create issues for the organization if a dispute arises. To avoid these issues, consider (among other things):
- Changing your handbook to eliminate old or outdated policies, and ensure the current policies accurately reflect current practices;
- Reminding employees about key policies, such as anti-discrimination/harassment and nondisclosure policies; and
- Revising or updating nondisclosure, noncompetition, and/or nonsolicitation agreements. In Colorado, continued employment is generally sufficient consideration for such agreements, but in other states or jurisdictions, that might not be the case, so tying an update to a year-end bonus, raise, or promotion may be a good way to ensure adequate consideration exists for new or revised agreements.
Rolling out new or updated policies in the first quarter of 2015 may be a good way to introduce new and existing employees to the changes or updates. In addition, if you do not already do so, consider highlighting key policies, such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment, or conducting an annual training on critical policies. Doing so may limit potential claims, or at least put you in a better position to defend against a claim down the road.