Employee Handbooks: Traps for the Unwary


Live Broadcast on December 12, 2017

The time of generic and broad handbook policies that allow for flexibility are largely past. Several typical broadly worded handbook provisions have come under increased scrutiny by the National Labor Relations Board, even as they pertain to non-union employers and employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have all take an increased interest in broad policies that can deter reporting of law violations and other whistleblower activities. Therefore, it is important to review employee handbooks and clarify obligations under conflict of interest policies, confidentiality provisions, social media and electronic communication policies just to name a few. This presentation will highlight some of the policies frequently found to be overbroad and how to minimize those pitfalls.

Key topics to be discussed:

•  Handbooks and the NLRA: Interfering with or restraining employees from engaging in protected concerted activity over terms and conditions of employment
•   EEOC and discrimination, harassment and retaliation policies
•   OSHA anti-retaliation requirements
•   Whistleblower protections
•   Confidentiality policies
•   Conflict of Interest policies
•   Social Media and Electronic Communications policies
•   Code of Conduct and Workplace Behavior policies

Date / Time: December 12, 2017

•  2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•  1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•  12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•  11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•  Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•  On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.


Laurie A. Petersen, Esq. is a shareholder and Board Member with the law firm of Lindner & Marsack, S.C.  Ms. Petersen’s practice covers a broad spectrum of labor and employment matters for clients in a range of industries:

•  Employment policies and practices
•  Unfair labor practices
•  Collective bargaining
•  Grievance arbitration
•  Employee discipline and discharge
•  Business immigration, including temporary visas and perm residency
•  Employment discrimination and litigation
•  Affirmative action
•  Family and medical leave
•  Wrongful termination
•  Unemployment compensation
•  Wage and hour
•  Health and safety
•  Non-compete agreements and employment contracts

She has extensive experience litigating before various courts and federal and state agencies. She also counsels employers on all aspects of labor and employment law and has developed numerous employee and supervisory training programs, as well as employee handbooks, for her clients. 

Ms. Petersen is on the Executive Committee of Worklaw® Network. Ms. Petersen is a frequent lecturer on a wide array of labor and employment topics. She has taught continuing education courses at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Outreach Programs and at Marquette University on safety and health, affirmative action and human resources management. Ms. Petersen has held an adjunct faculty position at Marquette University Law School where she taught employment discrimination law. She is recognized by the Wisconsin Law Journal as a 2017 Women in the Law Honoree.

She has presented live seminars and webinars to a variety of groups including Lorman Educational Seminars, National Business Institute, MRA, Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Labor and Employment Luncheon for the Wisconsin State Bar as well as numerous seminars and training sessions sponsored by private business. Topics of her presentations have included the following:

•  Sexual harassment
•  The Americans with Disabilities Act
•  Family and Medical Leave Act
•  Employment discrimination
•  Effective counseling, discipline and discharge
•  The Interplay of ADA, FMLA and WC
•  Conducting Investigations
•  Effective interviewing and performance evaluations
•  Grievance and arbitration
•  Occupational health and safety
•  Development and implementation of OFCCP programs
•  Substance Abuse Policies

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Section I. Laws to consider
a) Handbooks and the NLRA: Interfering with or restraining employees from engaging in protected concerted activity over terms and conditions of employment.
b) EEOC and discrimination, harassment and retaliation policies
c) OSHA anti-retaliation requirements
d) Whistleblower protections

Section II. Policies that must pass increased scrutiny
a) Confidentiality policies
b) Conflict of Interest policies
c) Social Media and Electronic Communications policies
d) Code of Conduct and Workplace Behavior policies
e) Miscellaneous
        i. Use of logos/trademarks
        ii. Photography, video and recording on company premises
        iii. Leaving work without permission
        iv. Wage and benefits discussions among employees