Risking your Business? Managing risks through HR Compliance.

September 22, 2018


When you spend your day in the world of human resources or office management, much of your role is to identify, hire and retain the people organization needs to achieve its goals. Another huge piece of your function is to assure that your organization is not “risking their business” which takes us to the numerous laws and regulations that HR Professionals must understand to avoid costly fines and harm to the organization’s reputation.  Today we are going to hit some of the more significant ways that you can stay compliant.

First you need to make sure that you are familiar and up to date with all state and federal labor laws that apply to your organization. These regulations can vary by state and size of organization, so take some time to make yourself familiar with all aspects of labor law. Some examples of these are:

  1. FLSA – Fair Labor Standards Act which sets the minimum hourly wage, the minimum training wage, and overtime hours and rates. It also encompasses child labor laws, including minimum ages and the types of jobs and hours minors are allowed to work.
  2. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Title VII prohibits employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  3. If you have 100 or more employees, you are required to submit an EEO-1 Report to the DOL annually.  
  4. OSHA requires employers to provide employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards. Employers with 10 or more employees are required to keep certain key records for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.
  5. The Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA amended to the ADA Amendments Act or ADAAA in 2008, prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability.  
  6. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), grants eligible employees the right to take unpaid leave for family or medical reasons.
  7. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes various requirements on employers regarding healthcare coverage.

Secondly, make sure that your organization is conducting the recruitment process lawfully which happens well before the employee is hired. Many of the Labor Laws come into play here including EEOC, Civil Rights, etc. Federal, state, and local laws prohibit employers from asking for information that would reveal certain protected characteristics of an applicant, such as his or her race, religion, marital status, disabilities, age, gender, or ethnicity.

Here are some tips to make sure you are in compliance with your recruiting process:

  1. Develop Job Descriptions
  1. Determine the Job Requirements
  2. Classify as Exempt or Non Exempt which brings us back to the FLSA
  1. Interviewing your Candidates
  1. If you do a phone screen with one applicant, follow that same pattern with all other applicants.
  2. Use the same interview tool for each phase of the process
  3. Avoid questions that can be construed as discriminatory. Like “Where were you born?”, “Are you disabled?”, etc.

By reviewing application forms and carefully planning interview questions in advance, businesses may minimize the risk of erroneously asking for prohibited information.

The third way to contribute to your organization staying compliance and lawsuit free is to create an Employee Handbook and update it regularly. The Employee Handbook is a communications tool that should clearly articulate the organization’s policies and procedures and how business should be conducted.

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