Establishing Workplace Rules

Each business will have its own particular workplace rules — casual attire may be more appropriate at a telemarketing firm than a high-end boutique — but there are some issues that all employers should address:

  • Sexual harassment. Prohibit sexually explicit comments and jokes, unwanted physical contact, and the display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures. Your rules should designate more than one person with whom an employee can register a complaint.
  • Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Regulate the use of alcohol, prohibiting its consumption outside of designated times (Christmas parties, for example). Note that you expect employees to show up in appropriate mental and physical condition for work. Prohibit drug use on the premises. Specify exactly where and when employees may smoke cigarettes. See What Are the Rules for Employee Drug Testing?
  • E-mail and Internet use. Create a policy regarding whether e-mail and the Internet can be employed for personal reasons. Require that all e-mail be professional and courteous. (You might remind employees that even deleted messages can be retrieved from the company system.)
  • Performance reviews. Provide that employee performance will be reviewed on a regular basis.

Also be sure read Effective Training Programs for Managers.


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