Some Work Rules Are Required

While the federal and state governments have not handed down a list of all the work rules that you must have, there are some laws that affect the employer/employee relationship. These laws may require you to establish some rules in your workplace to ensure that your employees comply with applicable laws.

For example, some states have made it a part of their smoking laws to require employers to have a specific policy against smoking or regulating where employees can smoke. Some states prohibit smoking in enclosed places of employment.

Employers who are subject to federal or state antidiscrimination laws are required to maintain a workplace free of harassment. Some states require, as a part of compliance, that an employer have and distribute a written policy regarding sexual harassment.

Other laws that may require you to have a written policy include federal and state laws regarding family leave. If you do any drug testing or polygraph testing, you may also be required to have and distribute a written policy regarding when, how, and under which circumstances testing takes place.

Apart from the types of rules and policies mentioned above, you have free reign to choose additional rules to help you manage your employees. Once you've taken care of the policies that are required, you can focus on choosing from the many other rules that are optional (but that are, in many cases, a good idea to have).