Employee Handbooks and Policies

Over the past two years, the pandemic has forced employers to navigate unchartered waters. The focus on health and safety, managing a remote workforce, and staying abreast of the evolving COVID-19-related guidance has left in-house counsel and human resources professionals with little time to focus on the fundamental steps essential to proactively and successfully manage employee issues. While the challenges associated with COVID-19 remain at the forefront of employers’ concerns, it is time to return to familiar waters and revisit some of the best HR-related practices.

We are excited to offer the final installment of this three-part series, both in-person and virtually, via webinar. For those local to the Nashville area, we invite you to join the Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys for the in-person presentation where they will address best practices across a range of topics, including:

  • The keys to performance management: establishing and managing performance expectations.
  • Tips for managing difficult employees.
  • Making termination decisions while ensuring compliance with legal requirements.


Continue Reading [REGISTER NOW] Best Practices for Managing Performance and Challenging Employees

Over the past two years, the pandemic has forced employers to navigate unchartered waters. The focus on health and safety, managing a remote workforce, and staying abreast of the evolving COVID-19-related guidance has left in-house counsel and human resources professionals with little time to focus on the fundamental steps that are essential to proactively and successfully manage employee issues. While the challenges associated with COVID-19 remain at the forefront of employers’ concerns, it is time to return to familiar waters and revisit some of the best HR-related practices. We are excited to offer the second installment of this three-part series both in-person and virtually, via webinar. For those local to the Nashville area, we invite you to join us on April 28 for the in-person presentation where we will address best practices across a range of topics, including:

  • Proper complaint intake and investigation planning practices.
  • Best practices for conducting employee interviews.
  • Managing the aftermath of the investigation, including potential disciplinary actions.


Continue Reading [REGISTER NOW] Labor & Employment Law Update: Returning to Familiar Waters – Best Practices for Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations

The past few years have been unprecedented for everyone, but employers have faced particular challenges in trying to keep their employees healthy and able to continue working while simultaneously navigating a significant amount of new – and often confusing – legislation, mandates, and executive orders. Due to these challenges, the focus on best practices for day-to-day management of employees has fallen by the wayside for many employers. However, as we approach the two-year mark since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and are beginning to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, now is a great time for employers to revisit these best practices that will enable them to better manage their workforces and reduce the risk of employment-related litigation.

Education through Training

Educating employees through a well-developed training program is one of the best investments that employers can make in their workplaces, particularly in light of the current enforcement environment. The Department of Labor (DOL), the National Labor Relations Board  (NLRB) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are making concerted efforts to share information and work together, which requires employers to be very proactive in managing potential employee issues. The most effective way to do so is by providing training for all employees. Although the federal equal employment opportunity laws do not require employers to conduct anti-harassment/anti-discrimination training, several states and municipalities require and/or encourage training. Training is a great way to reinforce a company’s culture, establish clear expectations, and to educate all employees about acceptable conduct, work rules, and consequences for non-compliance with those rules. Training is also beneficial from a legal perspective to establish an affirmative defense in defending harassment lawsuits. Employers must take reasonable care to prevent harassment from occurring in their workplaces. This requires employers to have policies in place designed to prevent harassment, and courts also look at whether employers conduct anti-harassment training and the frequency and effectiveness of that training.

Continue Reading Best Practices for Proactively Managing Workplace Issues and Minimizing the Risk of Employment-Related Litigation

Over the past two years, the pandemic has forced employers to navigate in unchartered waters. The focus on health and safety, managing a remote workforce, and staying abreast of the ever-changing COVID-19-related legislation and guidance has left in-house counsel and human resources professionals with little time to focus on many of the fundamental steps that are essential to proactively and successfully managing employee issues. While the challenges associated with COVID-19 remain at the forefront of employers’ concerns, it is time to return to familiar waters and revisit some of the best HR-related practices.

Join us for the first of a three-part virtual seminar in which Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys will address best practices across a range of topics that continue to impact day-to-day operations in the workplace and cause potential risk exposure for employers.

Topics covered during the first webinar of the series will include:

  • Training for the C-Suite, Managers/Supervisors and Employees.
  • Auditing Pay Practices (Pay Equity and Wage & Hour Compliance).
  • Updating Policies and Job Descriptions for the New Year.

To access the recording of this webinar, please click here.

Continue Reading [WEBINAR] Returning to Familiar Waters – Best Practices for Proactively Managing Workplace Issues and Minimizing the Risk of Employment-Related Litigation

On September 9, the Biden Administration announced “The Path Out of the Pandemic;” a new COVID-19 strategy with direct impact on employers and workplace procedures. Join us for a virtual seminar in which the firm’s labor & employment attorneys will discuss recent federal action related to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and subsequent guidance from government agencies.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published the long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) as directed by President Biden in his September 9 COVID-19 Action Plan – Path Out of the Pandemic.

The ETS will take effect as soon as it is published in the Federal Register and sets forth the following two options for employers with over 100 employees:

  1. A mandatory vaccination policy.
  2. A written policy allowing employees to undergo ongoing testing and masking instead of vaccination.

Employers are required to comply with all aspects of the ETS by December 5, except for the testing program for those employers who choose to provide this option to employees.  In that case, employees must either be fully vaccinated or submit proof of testing by January 4, 2022.

We break down the details below.

Which Employers Are Covered?

All employers with a total of 100 or more (full-time or part-time) employees at any time the ETS is in effect are covered.  The ETS does not apply to workplaces subject to the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors or settings where an employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services when subject to the requirements of § 1910.502.

Continue Reading OSHA Releases COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard: Here’s What It Means for Employers

As contractors and agencies scramble to comply with the government contractor vaccine mandate, there seems to be growing confusion over whether contractors or federal agencies are responsible for evaluating whether contractor employees working at government sites are entitled to medical or religious accommodations. In some cases, agencies tell contractors that the government, not the

The first few years of operations can be an overwhelming task for emerging companies, especially when it comes to navigating the wide range of employment laws that come with hiring new members of the team. Below is a list of issues to be aware of as you build and structure your workforce. Continue reading to

Effective July 1, 2021, Tennessee’s Constitution Carry law allows individuals over the age of 21 (or military members between ages 18 to 20) to carry a firearm, both concealed and open, with or without a carry permit.  However, this new law does not impact a private Tennessee business’ right to prohibit the possession of weapons

In response to President Biden’s Executive Order issued on January 21, 2021, directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to take action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace, OSHA has issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to set forth guidelines to protect healthcare workers.

Effective June 21, 2021, the ETS applies only to settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services.  The masking, distancing, and barrier requirements under the ETS do not apply to settings with well-defined areas where all employees are fully vaccinated and there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present. OSHA has provided a flowchart to determine which workplaces are affected.

Develop and implement a COVID-19 plan:  Employers are required to develop and implement a plan to combat COVID-19.  This plan must be in writing if there are more than 10 employees.  Employers must conduct hazard assessments for each specific workplace to identify potential COVID-19 hazards and designate a safety coordinator with the authority to ensure compliance with all aspects of the plan.

Limit and monitor points of entry:  In workplaces where direct patient care is provided, employers must limit and monitor points of entry.  Patients, clients, residents, and other visitors must also be screened and triaged.  Other patient management strategies must be implemented per CDC guidance.

Continue Reading OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Healthcare Workers from COVID-19