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Employment Laws: Part Three

employee handbook disclaimers

To complete our Employee Handbook series, we conclude by covering handbook disclaimers. Read on to learn more about the At-Will and NLRA-Protected Activity Disclaimers.

At-Will Disclaimer

Disclaimers are important. A great disclaimer to start with is the disclaimer that the intent of the handbook is not to be an employee contract.

Another disclaimer to include is the at-will disclaimer. Every state assumes private employment is at-will. (In some states however, employees are at-will for only the first six-months). Therefore, your handbook should include an at-will disclaimer that hits on the below points:

  • Employment is at-will and may be terminated any time for any legal reason. This applies to both the employee and the employer.
  • The intention of the employee handbook is not to be a contract of employment.
  • The at-will nature of employment may not be modified by any oral or written statement made before or after employment.
  • The company reserves the right to amend or change the policies at its discretion with or without notice to employees.

NLRA Protected Activity Disclaimer

The purpose of the National Labor Relations Act is to protect collective bargaining rights of employees. This disclaimer can get tricky, but the main thing to remember is this disclaimer can help clarify that nothing in the handbook restricts employees from discussing their wages, hours, or other working conditions.

In summary, the most important thing about a handbook is to keep it current. A fabulous resource is the Society for Human Resource Management, specifically their resource library on HR law.

Inspiration for this post came from “Employee Handbook 2.0: Aligning Your Policies With Employment Laws,” by Melisa Morrison, published in the April 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Employment Laws: Part Two

employment laws

To continue our Employee Handbook series, this week we cover wage laws and drug testing. Before we jump into employment laws, read on for upcoming AQR Academy events.

AQR Summer Camp

There’s still time to register for AQR Summer Camp! For a limited time, $100 gets you access to the next three AQR Academy Workshops. See below for details:

  • June 7th 3:00 p.m. — 4:30 p.m. CT: Tips and Tricks for Stress Free Payroll Processing
  • July 25 10:30 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. CT: Do Your Best Work: Take Back Control of Your Calendar
  • August 9 4:00 p.m. — 5:30 p.m. CT: Your Employee Handbook: The What, Why, How and Who

Last but not least, if you feel like you missed out from the previous AQR Academy LIVE event, you’re in luck. AQR Academy LIVE is coming back Fall 2022 in Des Moines, Iowa from September 27 — 29. Simply email info@americanquiltretailer.com with “Add me to the list” in the subject line and we will contact you as soon as registration opens!

Wage and Drug Testing Laws

Employment laws are constantly changing.

This year 21 states and 26 cities changed their minimum-wage rates. This means that the minimum salary an employee can earn to be overtime exempt automatically increased as well. You can check out a handy Minimum Wage Monitor for your location here.

Other pieces to take into consideration include the number of consecutive days an employee can work, break periods, meal breaks, and more. But the most important thing to keep in mind is your employee handbook can help explain why some employees qualify for overtime while others do not.

Drug testing on the other hand is more of a gray area. Medical marijuana is still illegal in 37 states, but until there are federal guidelines, employers are subject to state law.

This week was part two of Employee Handbook obligations. Stay tuned next week where we’ll cover handbook disclaimers.

Inspiration for this post came from “Employee Handbook 2.0: Aligning Your Policies With Employment Laws,” by Melisa Morrison, published in the April 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Employment Laws

Equal Opportunity Employment Laws

Several weeks ago we covered how to write an employee handbook. In our next series, we outline the local, state, and federal laws that you should include in your employee handbook.

Equal Employment

Equal Employment Opportunity prohibits unlawful discrimination based on age, race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, and genetic information. This also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file discrimination complaints.

On top of this, many states and localities have added additional antidiscrimation laws such as health disabilities, gender equality, diversity, and inclusion. Be sure to firstly check what your state and city’s entitlements are and secondly, include them in your employee handbook.

Leave of Absence Laws

Some leave of absence policies, such as personal time off, are based off employer discretion. Others are governed by state and federal laws. Some examples include medical, military, and jury duty leave.

Additional obligations to consider include:

  • FMLA: The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (for employers with 50 or more employees)
  • USERRA: The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
  • ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act (for employers with 15 or more employees)

As you can see, number of employees influence some of these entitlements as well as location. Another growing trend is paid sick leave. This varies greatly from state to state, so we recommend checking your own locations state and local laws.

This week was just the beginning of Employee Handbook obligations. Stay tuned for next week where we cover wages and drug testing.

Inspiration for this post came from “Employee Handbook 2.0: Aligning Your Policies With Employment Laws,” by Melisa Morrison, published in the April 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Employee Handbook Part 2

employee handbook

Last week we covered where to start on your employee handbook. Now we’ll cover how to fill in the bones. Read on for a policy outline as well as state and federal regulations.

State and Federal Regulations

Firstly, employment laws change frequently and vary by location. Some recent updates that come to mind include legalization of marijuana and open-carry laws. Both would necessitate an employment policy if these apply to your location.

Second, the best place to start for federal regulations is at the U.S. Department of Labor. We also encourage you to subscribe to their email updates.

Next, each state has an organization that deals with employment law. We recommend you become familiar with your state’s Department of Labor website resources and utilize state contracts. You can find links to individual state offices at the DOL website.

Finally, you always have the option to contract with an employment law attorney who will send you the appropriate legislative updates. This is a huge time-saver and overall the best practice from a liability standpoint.

Handbook Outline

Last but not least, check out below for a way to structure your employee handbook:

  • Introduction to the Company and Values
    • Company mission statement
    • Why you were founded
    • Insight into company culture
  • Employment
    • Local, state, or federally mandated policies
    • General employment policies such as hiring and termination guidelines
  • Compensation
    • Work schedules
    • Lunch and break periods
    • Time reporting
  • Benefits
    • Vacation, sick leave and other time-off policies
    • Employee discounts
  • Workplace Guidelines
    • Safety and security
    • Use of company equipment and services
  • Work Rules / Standards of Conduct
    • Dress code / grooming
    • Cell phone use / personal calls / visitors

We hope you found this information useful in getting started with your employee handbook. Inspiration for this post came from “Yes, You Really Need an Employee Handbook,” by Melisa Morrison published in the February 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer. Melisa has over 30 years of experience in HR and is the Director of Human Resources for Latex Construction Company.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Employee Handbook

employee handbook

Even if you feel like your employees are your second family, an employee handbook is just a good business practice. Read on for reasons why this helps communication and where to start this seemingly-daunting task.

Why do I need an employee handbook?

There are many reasons you should have an employee handbook.

The first is for time-savings. Instead of answering the same question multiple times, employees can reference the handbook for questions regarding vacation or sick leave.

The second is for consistency. Writing down expectations ensures you’re treating each employee fairly (no matter how well-intentioned you try to be).

Finally, and most obviously, an employee handbook is just a good legal practice. The reality of owning a business is that some day you’re going to have to fire an employee or someone is going to get very sick. Planning ahead and being transparent through an employee handbook is a great way to cut down on any drama that may come up down the line.

Where do I start?

The best way to start is the old-fashioned way—make a list.

You probably already have policies in your head; start with those. As your list expands, you’ll quickly realize which policies you should prioritize.

Consider having your employees at this conversation as well. Employees will have great insight into what sorts of questions have come up for them—policies such as dress code, scheduling, and more.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where we go through a handbook outline, as well as cover state and federal regulations.

Inspiration for this post came from “Yes, You Really Need an Employee Handbook,” by Melisa Morrison published in the February 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.