MAY 2017 – Top 10 Employee Handbook Mistakes

Top 10 Employee Handbook Mistakes

By Jennifer Brown Shaw and Alayna Schroeder

Done right, employee handbooks serve multiple functions. They provide employees with important information about the company, its practices and the working environment. They also help protect employers legally by setting clear expectations that employees must comply with. Done wrong, employee handbooks can do more harm than good.

Policies that are too specific and rigid can potentially limit an employer’s flexibility when dealing with real issues. Policies that are too general make it difficult for employers to hold employees accountable for their actions.

  1. An Overly Detailed Discipline Procedure

Some employers like to include a detailed discipline procedure in the employee’s handbook, specifying what disciplinary steps they will take if an employee violates company policy or does not meet performance standard.

Unfortunately these discipline procedures are often too detailed and constricting to address with workplace realities.

If an employer has a policy of employment at-will –that is, that termination and everything leading up to it can happen for any reason that is not legal –then the employer has no obligation to provide specific discipline procedure, much less explain it in detail.

Instead, the employer can handle disciplinary issues as they arise, maintaining consistency by centralizing discipline functions.

To avoid confusion and maximize flexibility, an employer should specify that violating any company policy – even on not state in the handbook – has the potential to lead to discipline.

  1. Not Controlling Meal and Rest Periods

California employers are all too aware of the potential financial impact of denying employees meal and rest periods. However, however many employers address breaks by only generally promising to comply with the law without explaining what that means. The California Supreme Court set forth specific standard for meal periods. Employees should be advised that if anyone interferes with their ability to take their required meals and rest periods they must notify their supervisor immediately.

  1. Not Controlling Overtime

Unauthorized overtime can create significant liability for employers. Overtime policies should be structured to limit unauthorized overtime. First, employers should define the “workweek” for purposes of calculating overtime. The overtime policy should also specify that employees are not permitted to work overtime without prior supervisory authorization. Though an employer can’t refuse to pay an employee who works unauthorized overtime, the employer can discipline employees who fail to follow specific directive not to work overtime without permission.

  1. Improper Deductions and Proper Reimbursements

Some employers make a big mistake not only in making improper illegal deductions from a paycheck, but also in reflecting that practice in their handbooks. Policies that state that salary advances or loans will be deducted from and employee’s final check violate California final pay rules.

  1. Putting a Cap on Medical leaves

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers may be required to permit an employee with a disability to take time off if doing so will allow the employee to recover and return to work. Few employers are aware that a policy imposing a “cap” on the amount of leave provided for this purpose can create legal problems.

When deciding how much leave is appropriate, the ADA and FEHA require an individual assessment. Employers can limit the possibility of problems with federal and state agencies, or employee law suits by maintaining flexible leave policies that make clear each situation with be individually evaluated.

  1. Use it or Lose it Vacation Policies

In California, vacation and paid time off is considered a vested wage. In other words employers can’t take accrued vacation or PTO away from employees. Employers can’t encourage employees to take vacation with a “use it or lose it” policy.  Instead vacation policies should be written to allow accrual up to a maximum, with no additional vacation accrual once and employee reach the maximum. If an employee’s accrual falls below the maximum, then he or she begins accruing vacation again. The maximum should be a reasonable amount. The Labor Commissioner has state that one year’s worth of vacation is not reasonable so employees should be permitted to accrue more than a year’s worth of vacation.

  1. Overly Broad Electronic Communications Policies

Many workplaces today employees need access to e-mail, the internet and other methods of electronic communications to do their job. To control potential problems some employers specify that electronic communications systems can be used only for business purposes. However, the federal National Labor Relations Board has taken the position that an employer’s rigid policy prohibiting the use of its electronic communications system for any non-business purpose may have the effect of “chilling” union organizations. Therefore a policy on electronic communications should not entirely prohibit use of electronic systems for non-business use.  The policy should communicate that employees do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in documents and other communications.

  1. A Rigid Harassment Prevention Policy

A written harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policy is a must-have for all employee handbooks. It helps employers defend claim of harassment when employees fail to follow the company’s internal processes for reporting potentially harassing behavior.

A written policy is required as part of an employer’s affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct. Employers should not focus so much on “unlawful” harassment, or use an overly legal definition of “harassing conduct”. The employer should define “harassment” using a stricter standard than the actual legal definition. A policy could define harassment as “disrespectful or unprofessional conduct based on a protected characteristic, such as, sex, race or national origin.” Supervisors must be instructed to report complaints of misconduct to a designated company official so that the company can try to resolve the claim internally.

2          Over-or Under Acknowledging

Employers can and should request that employees acknowledge receiving and reading the handbook. Most importantly an acknowledgement is a key place to reiterate a concept that the employer should have communicated many times; employment at-will. That means either party can end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason and with or without notice.

1         Not Reviewing/Revising the Handbook Regularly     

Employment laws change frequently. Though not every change necessitate a new version of a handbook the document should be reviewed regularly so policies can be amended or updated when appropriate.

An employee handbook is an important document that can protect an employer from liability.

MAY 2017 – Chamber presents State of the Community Luncheon

Invitations have gone out for the State of the Community Luncheon

Together the Redlands Chamber of Commerce and the City of Redlands will present the Annual State of the Community Luncheon, Friday, June 9th, 2017 at the Orton Center, University of Redlands.  Invitations have been mailed and reservations are now being accepted.

Mayor Paul Foster and Council Members will address the audience with forecasts for the upcoming year, and report on benchmarks of the past fiscal year. The elected officials reflect on the projected budget, the priorities for the coming year, and the anticipated challenges.

The event is sponsored by Teamsters Union 1932, Redlands Police Officers Foundation, Redlands Community Hospital, Southern California Edison, Ayres Hotel Redlands, Brixton Capital, Walmart, Alta Vista Credit Union, Redlands Professional Firefighters Association, SoCalGas and Kaiser Permanente.                  

Mayor Foster and Council will present the Annual Beautification Awards for 2017 along with the Redlands Heroes and Employee Heroes Awards 2017.

It is expected that the event will be sold out again this year. The cost of the luncheon is $35 per person, reservations are required. For more information about the State of the Community Luncheon or to make reservations, call 793-2546.

MAY 2017 – Member Profile – Mansion Memories

Mansion Memories, making magic happen

Mansion Memories is a place where magic happens in conjunction Rochford Foundation. The Mansion Memories organization is committed to addressing a real community need by bringing children, experiencing crisis, a day of joy, laughter and wonder.

When a child faces a life altering experience, be it a serious illness, the loss of a parent or sibling or any number of sadness’s, a Magical Day of love, hope, joy and laughter can begin the heart’s healing, and that’s the mission of Mansion Memories.

Each quarter staff and volunteers create Magical Days at the Burrage Mansion transforming it into a wonderland of delight with storybook characters, princes and princesses, Santa and his elves and any other enchanting creatures interacting with the nominated children and their family members. Smiles and laughter are the order of the day and cares and worries can be forgotten. Those Magical Days, are organized with hands on activities, crafts, games and challenges for children and parents alike, culminating in a communal feast and live entertainment.  Woody and Buzz Lightyear, along with Molly, Bo Peep and a slew of green toy soldiers have greeted wide eyed children, singing dancing and playing the day away.  In December non other that Santa and Mrs. Clause are on hand to gather up letters, listen to lists of wants and share in the Christmas cookies and treats.  Princess Jasmine and Aladdin have visited with the wee ones sharing their love of magic carpet rides and mystical lamps harboring magical genies.  Alice from Wonderland, Snow White and even Captain Hook, and Sneed have been on hand to laugh and love on those very special days.

Children are nominated by community members, neighbors, organizations, teachers, pastors, councilors or caring hearts who know what a difference a smile can make in a child’s life. There is no cost to the families participating in the Magical Days. Each day is completely underwritten through donations large and small from businesses, individuals, and through fundraising efforts.

More than seventy five volunteers step in to transform the mansion and make the magic happen, from decorating, to food preparation and clean-up volunteers are on hand to lend a hand. There is always a need for volunteers and you can be a part of the giving team by filling out a volunteer application found on the Mansion Memories website,

If you would like to learn more about Mansion Memories, the Magical Days and other activities at the Burrage Mansion contact Dianna Lawson, Executive Director at



MAY 2017 – Member Profile – Maupin Financial Advisors

Maupin Financial Advisors helping you make a plan for the future

Maupin Financial Advisors offers high-touch advisory services for moderate to high-net worth families and individuals through diversification, objective investing and decades of expertise. They have helped many individuals, professionals and business owner successfully retire over the years.

Located at 310 Citrus Ave. Maupin Financial Advisors provides clients exceptional service, customize strategies and smart thinking. They are passionately committed to both clients and guiding principles.

Powered by LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker/dealer, the firm provides a comprehensive array of tools and resources to independent financial advisors, enabling them to provide objective financial guidance to their clients. LPL financial has no proprietary products.

Maupin Financial Advisors ensures that the foundation of a plan-investment strategy, tax strategy, retirement planning and estate planning are properly set to support each other. Where applicable their approach balances your need for immediate income with longer-term goals for asset accumulation.

Protecting home, health, family and assets are a critical part of life planning. The Maupin Financial Advisors team will help you manage risk by determining the appropriate amount of insurance coverage needed in a variety of areas including life insurance and long-term care.

They work closely with your tax advisor to minimize lax liabilities at al stage of your life. They monitor you evolving tax circumstances and adjust your portfolio.

Maupin Financial Advisors believes retirement planning is a crucial element of financial planning, both before and during retirement.

Dave Maupin, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER is owner and founder of Maupin Financial Services. He has worked extensively in the field of financial management since 1985 and has built a multi-million dollar financial planning company delivering dynamic financial planning and independent advice to high-net worth families and individuals.

Phillip A Naman has over twenty years of dedicated financial planning experience. He has led his clients to pursuing financial success through Total Wealth Management, developing a comprehensive financial plan for asset management and debt reduction.

To learn more about Maupin Financial Service or to meet with Dave or Phillip call 909-798-1712 or contact them at or



MAY 2017 – Redlands 2018 City Council voting districts


Redlands 2018 City Council Voting Districts

By John James

Now that a voting district map has been finalized, it is time to begin looking forward to the next City Council election in November 2018. With three seats up for election, the Council makeup as well as its culture has the potential for significant change.  The intent of the California Voting Rights Act is to insure elected representation throughout a municipality, school district, County, etc.

Voting districts in Redlands will likely result in a City Council with its collective members having a more diverse view of issues facing the City. This may result in a larger challenge to individual Council Members as they work to come to a consensus on various issues.  Meeting the challenge will have great value.  Consensus on issues from diverse viewpoints can lead to better decisions, policies and a better overall vision for the City.

However, history has shown that voting districts many times result in division within municipalities. Council members can become focused only on their districts and not the City at large.  It is imperative that while future City Council members represent their districts, they must also remember they have the responsibility to look out for the general welfare of the entire City.  Without a healthy and vibrant City, individual districts will suffer along with the entire City.

Voting districts have distinct boundary lines. However, Redlands quality of life does not.  Simple activities such as commuting to work, shopping, religious worship, attending entertainment venues including the Redlands Bowl and many others are not limited to single districts.  The lifestyle that gives Redlands its unique qualities will indiscriminately cut across many districts.

The City’s General Fund budget must also be blind to district boundary lines. Public safety, economic development, streets, parks and other City wide services must support all of the City’s residents, businesses and visitors in a manner that nurtures a healthy and vibrant City.

As potential candidates begin considering the possibility of running for City Council and reaching out to the voters in their respective districts, they need to recognize the importance of the City’s culture, heritage and overall quality of life. As voters begin to evaluate potential candidates, they need to look for City Council candidates who can meet the challenge of district representation while at the same time address the need to preserve and enhance the quality of life in the entire City.

MAY 2017 – New Chamber Members – April 2017

Angelina Bodine
414 Tennessee Street, Suite W
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 951-216-1900

Shay Lawrey
47 1st Street, Suite 1
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 307-5633

Daranee Muongpruan
309 W. State Street
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 798-7747

Patrick Ryan
4204 Riverwalk Parkway
Riverside, CA 92505
Phone: 206-3670

Aimee Rios
300 E. State Street, Suite 206
Redlands, CA  92373
Phone:  307-9779

Eki Odufalu
1402 Industrial Park Avenue
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 798-5777

Judy Gothard
640 Orange Street
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 335-1152

MAY 2017 – Chamber members renewing April 2017

Mickey Hardin-Butler
1998 Orange Tree Lane
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 748-7028

Anil Patel
1235 W. Colton Avenue
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 793-6648

Paul Emerson
27 E. State Street
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 798-5888

Tamara Kawas
1426 Industrial Park
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 793-7400

Knea Hawley
1751 Plum Lane
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 748-7223

Ben Cook
P. O. Box 9420
Redlands, CA 92375
Phone: 389-1400

Redlands, CA 92373

Kevin Barrett
P. O. Box 7865
Redlands, CA 92375
Phone: 796-1500

Sera Florek
24541 Redlands Blvd
Loma Linda, CA 92354
Phone: 799-1010

David Maupin & Phillip Naman
310 E. Citrus Avenue
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 798-1712

Dick Stalhoub
612 E. Redlands Blvd
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 793-1516

P. O. Box 826
Redlands, CA 92373

Karen Hirsch
1209 Nevada, Suite 200
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 793-1500

Norman D. Mathis
508 Cajon Street
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 793-2024

Patrick Edwards
Yucaipa, CA 92399
Phone: 435-5975

Kerry Spelman
214 E. Olive Avenue
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 307-0616

Scott Welsh
P. O. Box 7880
Redlands, CA  92375

Frances Carter
P. O. Box 7152
Redlands, CA 92375
Phone: 649-1474

Dr. Samir Tadha
1461 Ford Street, Suite 101
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 793-0111

James Holmes
P. O. Box 3391
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 335-5500

Betty Rivero
1749 Garden Street
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 793-2661

Linda Kirwan
1643 Plum Lane
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 792-9717

Dr. Samir Tadha
1461 Ford Street, Suite 101
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 793-0111

Marlisa Hodgin
25 E. State Street
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 793-1919

Karen Di Carlo
P. O. Box 2642
San Bernardino, CA 92406
Phone: 885-0090

Ellen Weiss
4 West Redlands Blvd, Second Floor
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 792-8919

Rick Gunn
P. O. Box 9256
Redlands, CA 92375
Phone: 918-8690

Mark Cloud
13351 E. Francis Street
Ontario, CA 91761
Phone: 930-8495

Shawn Burch
15 South 5th Street
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 798-7490

Christine O’Hagan
Mentone, CA 92359
Phone: 226-2916

Kathie Greco
1765 Orange Tree Lane
Redlands, CA 92374
Phone: 894-4209