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Beware of these employee code of conduct legal pitfalls

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Employment Law For Employers |

A well-written code of conduct has the potential to strengthen your employee handbook. It shares your business values and how you expect your staff members to conduct themselves during work hours.

A well-drafted code can help prevent poor employee behavior and other issues from arising. However, you need to construct these codes as carefully as other elements in your employee handbook. Be wary of falling prey to these legal pitfalls when drafting a code of conduct.

Converging personal and business values

It is beneficial to express your business values but avoid any overlap with your personal beliefs and ideals. For example, if you observe a certain religion, do not allow your faith to influence your code of conduct. You want to avoid accidentally discriminating against those who follow other religious faiths.

Lack of instruction for your employees

Your code should clearly guide the conduct of your staff, but it should also provide them with direction if a problem arises. For example, if an employee experiences or witnesses sexual harassment, your code should inform them of the proper steps to take. Reinforcing these steps supports the policies already outlined in your employee handbook.

Overmanaging employee appearance

You can address the professional appearance of your staff, but make certain it applies to all employees to help avoid allegations of discrimination. For example, if you allow some workers to wear religious garb, you need to permit everyone to do so as outlined in your policies and code of conduct.

If you want to strengthen your company culture and improve employee engagement, creating a code of conduct can help you meet these goals. However, take steps to ensure the code does not violate California employment laws or the rights of your workforce.