Latest News

On The Horizon: Handbook Topics in 2020

By Danielle Bearden | Director of Human Resources

As we head further into 2020, it’s important to look to the horizon and be prepared for what is to come. In 2019, there were many laws and regulations surrounding Leave Laws, sexual harassment, social media policies, and equal pay rights. While these areas are still a major focus point for 2020, there are other areas that are gaining traction and it’s important to have policies and procedures in place.

Top Areas of Your Handbook to Update in 2020

Protection for Marijuana Use

States continue to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. These laws don’t allow workers to be under the influence on the job, but some laws may limit employers’ disciplinary options and provide employment protection for off-duty use.

Anti-Harassment Efforts

Legislation reflecting the#MeToo movement will continue to change the legal landscape. CaliforniaNew York and other states and cities also continue to update their anti-harassment laws and training requirements. Employers must ensure that they have effective training and prevention programs in place, noting that equal employment opportunity and sexual-harassment-prevention policies should be included in all employee handbooks so that employees fully understand the company’s complaint and investigation procedures.

Hairstyle Discrimination Bans

More jurisdictions are adding hairstyle to the list of protected traits under anti-discrimination laws. Employers should review their handbooks for any language regarding dress codes, employee appearance and hairstyles to ensure those policies do not explicitly or implicitly run afoul of the new law.  New York and New Jersey also banned hairstyle discrimination in 2019.

Stronger Privacy Laws

Employers need to be mindful of the increasing risks associated with data breaches, requirements and other issues not typically thought of in the employment context, and confirm they have appropriate policies. For 2020, certain California employers will need to be aware of requirements under California Consumer Privacy Act, which requires covered businesses to roll out policies and procedures to protect consumer and employee data.

Updated Overtime Exemptions Regulations

As of January 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made the following change to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations for overtime exemptions, including an increase in the salary-level threshold for white-collar exemptions to $35,308 per year from $23,660.

Family-Friendly Focus

Family-friendly policies will continue to expand as the economy continues to grow. For instance, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act provides unlimited breaks for working mothers to express milk for the first year after a child’s birth. Additionally, many states and cities have passed paid leave laws in the last year. These laws may cover sick leave, family leave and domestic violence leave.

Predictable Scheduling Requirements

We’re also seeing state and local jurisdictions legislate in areas that have traditionally been considered areas of management prerogative.  Although the requirements of these laws vary, most require advance notice of schedule changes and notice of anticipated work schedules at the time of hire and impose significant requirements with respect to payroll and scheduling documentation.





Danielle brings over 10 years of HR experience to the Lever1 team focusing on organization, growth, and employee relations. Her knowledge of local, state and federal laws influencing personnel actions helps Lever1 clients maintain the highest level of integrity and confidentiality at all times.