By Mike Wiley


Employment laws and related questions are part of your routine week when you work in HR.

Regulations pertaining to employment are ever-changing, and they vary from state to state when it comes to issues such as healthcare, labor, retirement, injuries, workers’ compensation, unemployment, paid time off. It can be mind-boggling, but the consequences of dropping the compliance ball can be epic.

A Recap of Employment Laws

Employment laws encompass regulatory standards of conduct that HR personnel must adhere to as they perform their work tasks. They include the:

  • Civil Rights Act: protects individuals from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or national origin.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act: establishes the national minimum wage, regulates overtime and payroll standards, and regulates working hours and conditions for minors.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act: establishes leaves of absence for families due to medical circumstances and maternity and regulates sick leave.
  • Employees with Disability Act: protects workers from discrimination based on disabilities.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act: protects employees older than 40 from age discrimination.
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act: protects the health and safety of workers.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act: protects new hires from discrimination based on credit reports.

Consequences of Noncompliance

Federal and state labor departments take employment law seriously. If regulations are violated, employers may face steep civil financial penalties. For repeat offenses, there may be jail time. Businesses that fall out of compliance also put themselves in danger of lawsuits, audits, and damaged reputations.

  • If a current or former employee feels your company is out of compliance, they can sue you in civil court or file a claim with the federal government that may trigger an audit.
  • Civil lawsuits can be extremely costly and time-consuming. One study showed that small business owners faced a 10.8 percent chance of being sued by an employee for discrimination in 2016.
  • In addition to discrimination, a common area for employee lawsuits is wage and hour disputes. Employees can sue you in civil court if you fail to pay overtime or minimum wage or misclassify them as an independent contractor. If the employee wins the case, you will likely have to remit unpaid wages and overtime premiums and be responsible for their attorney fees. And the government will add its own financial penalties.
  • State employment laws come with their own consequences. Visit your state labor department website to learn more.

Employment compliance begins before a person is even hired – as you conduct thorough, accurate, and responsible background screening and drug testing. To relieve yourself of the myriad compliance issues and developments you need to stay on top of, consider working with Chane Solutions. We’re recognized nationwide for helping our clients conduct proper due diligence and stay 100 percent compliant throughout their talent acquisition and management processes. Contact us today to learn more.