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Drinking Fountain Policy

Do you have a drinking fountain/water cooler policy? If so, can you please kindly give a draft regarding the matter? I’m kind of new to making company policies and procedures and your response will be a big help. Thanks in advance.

Drinking fountain/water cooler policies are not all that common anymore. Usually, such policies aim to curtail employee gossip or unproductive behavior. But, often they inadvertently restrict employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activity (i.e. employees discussing salaries, workplace safety, or unionization).

Here are a few key points to keep in mind when creating any new policy or procedure:

What is the need for the policy/procedure? Is there a law requiring it? If not, is there a true, legitimate need for it?

Policies and procedures should address a clear need or problem to be solved. For example, safety policies/procedures inform employees of how the company maintains a safe and secure workforce and OSHA compliance or a time and attendance policy explains work schedules, attendance, punctuality and the process for reporting absences.

What content is needed in the policy/procedure to explain the law or subject matter to be conveyed?

Of course, a policy/procedure required by legislation will include the details of the law and information regarding how the law is applied in the particular business.

When creating a policy/procedure to address a need or solve a problem, make sure it’s clear, easily understandable and to the point. Cover all the information needed for employees to understand the policy/procedure and try to answer any obvious questions.

Does the policy/procedure violate or have the potential to violate any federal or state/municipality laws?

Often times, employers adopt policies restricting the payout of unused accrued vacation time to separated employees without even knowing if a state law exists prohibiting such. Further, an employer may have good intentions in prohibiting employees from discussing their salaries with each other but such a policy may violate the National Labor Relations Act.

Though not every policy/procedure needs to be reviewed by a lawyer, it’s best practice to seek guidance on questionable/controversial policies or have your employee handbook periodically reviewed by counsel.

Once the policy/procedure is written, review it with your management team or a small group of employees. This will ensure it’s not only understandable but will actually be practical to implement. Further, it’s best to have management support when implementing a new policy/procedure since they, in most cases, will be the ones enforcing the policy/procedure.

Remember, policies/procedures create a standard to be followed by all employees. Properly written policies can help mold company culture and communicate the company’s values while they can also protect the company from certain risks. Unnecessary or draconian policies/procedures may decrease employee morale which ultimately affects productivity and retention.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 at 2:28 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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