Downey & Associates Logo

employee handbook

Employee handbooks can be essential to establishing good, lasting employer-employee relationships. While employee handbooks can cover a lot of issues, however, the following are generally the most important topics to details in these handbooks:

  1. General employment info – This should provide an overview of the business, along with general employment policies, such eligibility for employment, employee records, probationary periods for employment, and disciplinary/termination procedures. If employees for a business are usually unionized or if they are commonly foreign workers, including specific information for these types of employees in this section is also generally advisable.
  2. Standards of conduct for employees – This aspect of employee handbooks should generally outline the dress and ethics codes for employees, as well as policies regarding schedules, attendance, punctuality, telecommuting etc. If a business is subject to specific regulations or ethical rules, these should also be explained in this part of the handbook.
  3. Workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies – If a business’ policies different from state or federal laws in any way, the differences should be explained in detail in the employee handbook. As part of this section, it’s also important to discuss reporting options for employees, as well as the general investigative procedures the business will use to look into discrimination- and/or harassment-based complaints.
  4. Safety & health issues – This aspect of employee handbooks should discuss how a business is compliant with the applicable OSHA regulations. It should also explain how employees are supposed to report work accidents, workplace safety hazards, etc.
  5. Employee compensation and benefits – With this section of employee handbooks, details regarding deductions for taxes, voluntary deductions for benefits and eligibility for overtime pay should be explained. Additionally, this aspect of employee handbooks should outline how and when performance reviews, salary increases, bonuses, etc. are administered (or available) per the company’s policies, as well as the various benefit programs offered by the company.
  6. Leave policies – This section should detail policies regarding family medical leave, military leave, and leave for any other reason, explaining how these policies are compliant with state or federal law.

Developing Employee Handbooks: More Important Tips

Contact Denver Business Lawyer Thomas E. Downey

For experienced help forming a business or resolving any business legal issues, contact Denver Business Lawyer Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the other legal professionals at Downey & Associates, PC, have been providing individuals and businesses throughout the U.S. with the highest level of legal service for their litigation, property tax and business legal issues.

To learn more about our various services and how we can assist you, call us at (303) 813-1111 or email us using the contact form on this page.

From our law offices in Centennial, we serve clients throughout Colorado and the U.S.

Various laws have been enacted to outline employee rights, govern the relationship between workers and their employers and generally protect employees in the workplace. From wages and discrimination-related issues to taxation and grounds for termination, a number of different issues come into play with employment law and employee rights.

In this three-part blog, we will take a closer look at some of the specific employee rights that U.S. workers can count on – and that they should be aware of. If people find that their rights as employees have been violated in any way by their employer(s), they are encouraged to contact Denver Employment Law Attorney Thomas E. Downey to learn more about their options for holding their employer accountable.

man in wheelchair at place of employment

An Overview of Employee Rights in the Workplace

Right 1 – Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment

A number of different laws protect workers from discrimination, as well as any type of harassment or abuse, in the workplace. Specifically, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against any employee based on that individual’s:

While this means that employers are not allowed to ask certain types of questions during the hiring process (and that they are not legally permitted to NOT hire someone based on any of the above-described features), it also means that employers cannot refuse to promote someone (or even decide to fire or layoff someone) due to such factors. Instead, employers can generally only make such decisions about a person’s employment based on his or her performance.

Right 2 – The Right to Privacy

Employee rights also protect workers’ right to privacy in the workplace. This means that employers do NOT have the right to inspect workers’ personal property (like, for instance, their purses, personal mail, cellphones, etc.) or to dig through personal space allotted to an employee (like, for example, a locker).

Here, however, it’s important to point out that employers will have the right to screen certain property or messages if or when:

There may be other instances too in which employers may have the right to screen or inspect workers’ personal property or messages. However, if you feel that your employer may have violated your rights to privacy at any point, you should contact Downey & Associates, PC for a thorough case evaluation.

Right 3 – The Right to Safety in the Workplace

Another right that employees specifically have is the right to work in a safe environment. In other words, employers have a specific responsibility to:

When employers fail to live up to these obligations and workers are injured at work, injured employees will generally be entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical bills, lost wages, etc.

Right 4 – The Right to Fair Wages

This employee right entitles workers to receive (at the very least) a set minimum wage, as set by federal law. It also means that, if or when workers put in overtime, they can be entitled to “time-and-a-half” (depending on the nature of their job and their contract with their employer). In other words, employers have the responsibility to fairly compensate workers for their labor, and a failure to do so can result in serious penalties being enacted against an employer.

When wage disputes arise between employees and employers, it’s crucial to contact a Denver employment law attorney at Downey & Associates, PC to resolve the dispute as favorably and efficiently as possible.

Right 5 – “Whistleblower” Rights

This employee right specifically empowers workers to stand up to their employers and report any violations, discrimination or other illegal acts that employers may have committed to the proper authorities without retaliation. In other words, these employee rights allow workers to blow the whistle on their employers’ wrongdoings and to do so without worrying about losing their jobs, being demoted or otherwise being the targets of retaliation from an employer.

In fact, if employers try to retaliate against employees who have exercised their whistleblower rights, employees can sue their employers for compensation.

Specific Laws Governing Employee Rights in the Workplace

Contact a Denver Employment Law Attorney at Downey & Associates, PC

If you need help with any matter of employment law, you can count on Denver Employment Law Attorney Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the other legal professionals at Downey & Associates, PC, have been providing individuals and businesses in the Denver Metro Area and throughout the U.S. with the highest level of legal service for their employment law, property tax and real estate legal issues.

We have the integrity, experience and resources necessary to ensure that you will receive the highest level of personal service, the highest quality legal services and, ultimately, the best possible resolution to your case.

Let’s Talk…

We encourage you to learn more about your rights and options, as well as our various services, by calling us at (303) 813-1111 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

From our law offices in Centennial, we serve clients throughout Colorado and the U.S.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram