Hiring your first employee brings with it a whole new area of law for the small business person: Employment.
“Employment Law” covers everything from preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace to wage and hour laws affecting each employee to the labor posters that are required at your place of business. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees federal employment and wage and hour (labor) regulations; however, each state also has its own laws. I’ll help you understand and comply with these laws when your small business hires employees. And afterward, I’ll help you maintain compliance.
Employment law includes such wide-ranging topics as:
- Employment Discrimination (Title VII)
- Labor Relations
- Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
- Employee Benefits
- Wrongful Termination
- Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA)
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Minimum Wage
For most small business owners, it’s just not possible to comfortably know enough about employment law. Instead, a savvy business owner will develop a relationship with an attorney knowledgeable in the various aspects of employment law. I can help you develop and maintain proactive, compliance-oriented, employment law strategies for your small business.
Most small business owners don’t know that employment law directs all rights and obligations within the employer-employee relationship, whether dealing with current employees, job applicants or former employees.
All employees have basic rights in the workplace, including the right to privacy, fair compensation and freedom from discrimination. Job applicants also have rights, even if they aren’t hired. Those rights include the right to be free from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, or religion during the hiring process.
Important employee rights include:
- Right to Privacy
- Right to Be Free From Discrimination and Harassment
- Right to a Safe Workplace
- Right to Be Free From Retaliation
- Right to Fair Wages
The most daunting employment law requirement that your small business will encounter is navigating the myriad of federal laws and determining the applicability of each to your operation. I’ll help you make that determination and work with you to develop a program to keep your small business in good stead with federal employment law.
We’ll address these prime concerns:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Applies only to employers with 15 or more employees.
- Prohibits employers from discriminating in the hiring process based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- Prohibits discrimination against a person with a qualified disability.
- Provides that if an individual with a disability can perform essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation, that person cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their disability.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Prevents employers from giving preferential treatment to younger workers to the detriment of older workers.
- Only applies to workers 40 years of age and older and to workplaces with 20 or more employees.
- Does not prevent an employer from favoring older employees over younger employees.
Fair Labor Standards Act
- Regulates the duration of work days and breaks an employer must provide.
- Governs applicable salary and overtime requirements set out by the federal government.
Family and Medical Leave Act
- Provides that employers must allow employees to take up to a 12-week leave of absence for qualified medical purposes.
- Stipulates that in order to qualify for the leave, the employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months and for 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the leave.
- Preserves qualified employees’ positions for the duration of the leave.
I Can Help With YOUR Employment Law Issue
Employers have a variety of legal obligations in the workplace, established under both federal and state law. If you and/or your business are faced with a potential legal dispute with an employee, or if you need assistance with any employment law issue, I will explain your options and help protect your legal rights.
Here are common ways small businesses get sued:
- Classifying all employees as exempt.
- The uncompensated flexible lunch break.
- Classifying employees as independent contractors.
- Ignoring the value of harassment and discrimination training to managers and supervisors.
- Letting employees decide which hours and how many they want to work.
- Terminating employees for taking a protected leave of absence.
- Failing to provide a final paycheck to an employee due to a dispute with the employee.
- Giving employees loans and deducting repayments from their paychecks.
- Using over-aggressive non-compete agreements.
- Not compensating accrued vacation and personal days upon termination.