Human Resources Compliance Resolutions for 2022
It is the beginning of the year, traditionally a time to consider where we are and set goals for where we want to be – a perfect time for Human Resources professionals to establish the following five compliance-related resolutions for the workplace in 2022.
1. Keep on Top of COVID Safety Issues
We are about to enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, something few of us could have imagined in January 2020. As much as we would like the pandemic to be over, the latest Omicron surge has shown that COVID-19 is not going away, and HR professionals must continue to track Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, as well as federal, state, and local mandates regarding vaccines, masking, and other safety measures. Unlike 2020, when the government issued orders telling us exactly what we could and could not do in the workplace, in 2022, it will largely be up to employers to review relevant guidance and decide what is best for each individual workplace. In many ways, this is more challenging.
2. Schedule Anti-Harassment Training
If your workplace did not conduct anti-harassment training in 2021, schedule that training for 2022. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the federal agency that enforces the laws in this area) says that employers should provide live interactive training at least once every two years. Even in the midst of the pandemic, employers continue to face harassment claims from current and former employees. Providing anti-harassment training can help provide a defense to such claims. Get live interactive training – either in person or virtual – on the calendar as soon as possible.
3. Review and Update Your Employee Handbook
While employee handbooks often are a neglected and an undervalued document, handbooks serve many purposes. A well-written personnel manual informs employees of the employer’s culture, policies, and expectations and can be a strong line of defense to minimize litigation and liability. Updating your employee handbook is a must because – as the last two years have taught us – laws change, organizations change, and technology changes. An outdated, poorly written handbook can cause legal and practical headaches for Human Resources and management. If it has been at least two years since your handbook was thoroughly reviewed, put that on your list for 2022.
4. Evaluate Drug Testing Policies and Practices in Light of Changes to State Marijuana laws
While marijuana remains illegal on the federal level – which has implications for federal contractors and employers covered by certain federal regulations – some states are strictly limiting when employers can test for marijuana. As more states legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, employers should review and potentially revise their drug testing policies and practices, particularly in light of current recruitment and staffing challenges.
5. Conduct an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Check-Up
Even before the pandemic, many employers struggled with ADA reasonable accommodation requirements. COVID has added a layer of complexity to this issue, with the potential need to reasonably accommodate employees who are more susceptible to COVID due to underlying health conditions, employees who suffer from COVID-related mental health issues, and employees who suffer from long-term COVID complications. All employers should review their ADA policies and practices to make sure that they have an effective process in place to evaluate and respond to all request for reasonable accommodation.
Employers should consult with experienced human resources professionals and/or labor and employment counsel with any questions regarding any of these issues. For MEA members, information is available in the Help Center. In addition, the Hotline and a Member Legal Services attorney are available to provide this assistance. For the latest updates on COVID-19 for employers, join us weekly on Tuesdays at 11 AM for our Weekly Growth & Recovery Webinars.