Federal employment laws can be terribly confusing, particularly because they often have different definitions for the size of a business that is exempt from the law.
Use the following list to make sure you’re not spending time and money complying with laws that only apply to larger businesses. Note: Many states have set lower thresholds. Always check with your state labor agency.
HR Specialist: Employment Law is a monthly legal advisory for HR pros, managers and business owners. Reading HR Specialist: Employment Law is like having a blindfold taken off and getting access to strategies that can literally change the way you see your employment policies – and possibly even save your organization. Learn more...
AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT (ADEA): prohibits employers from discriminating against workers over age 40 in hiring, discharge, wages or benefits. Who is covered: Employers with 20 or more workers.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA): prohibits job discrimination of individuals with disabilities (Title I) and requires public facilities to be accessible to the disabled (Title III). Who is covered: Employers with 15 or more workers (Title I) and any business that provides facilities open to the public. (Title III).
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 (TITLE VII): prohibits hiring, discharge or wage discrimination based on race, religion, sex or national origin. Who is covered: Employers with 15 or more workers.
CONSOLIDATED OMNIBUS BUDGET RECONCILIATION ACT (COBRA): requires employers to offer continuing health care coverage to terminated employees and certain spouses and dependents for a specified period. Who is covered: Employers of 20 or more workers that offer health coverage.
EQUAL PAY ACT (EPA): requires employers to pay equal wages to men and women in most conditions. Who is covered: Employers with at least one worker.
EMPLOYEE POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT (EPPA): restricts occasions when private employers can use lie detectors in hiring or investigations. Who is covered: All private employers.
FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA): establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards. Who is covered: All employers.
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FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA): allows workers to take up to 12 weeks per year of job-protected time off for the birth of a child or to care for themselves or family members with a "serious" illness. Who is covered: Employers with 50 or more workers.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION ACT (FTCA): prohibits “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive” business practices. Who is covered: Almost all businesses.
IMMIGRATION REFORM AND CONTROL ACT (IRCA): requires you to review applicant’s work eligibility documents. Who is covered: Employer with at least one worker.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT (NLRA): prevents discrimination against workers who participate in union activity or band together to protect work conditions. Who is covered: Almost all employers and unions.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT (OSHA): requires employers to run a business free from recognized hazards and keep records on injuries, illnesses. Who is covered: Almost all businesses. Employers are exempt from programmed inspections if they have 10 or fewer employees.
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION ACT (PDA): prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or any other related medical issues. Who is covered: Employers with 15 or more workers.
WORKER ADJUSTMENT AND RETRAINING NOTIFICATION ACT (WARN): requires companies to give at least 60 days notice of closings and mass layoffs. Who is covered: Most employers with more than 100 workers.
It seems like every day, employers have new regulations and laws to follow. Many seem like traps rather than laws. It’s hard to hear about these cases without wishing you had a personal lawyer to sort it all out for you.
Obviously, you’re not about to make every workplace decision with an attorney whispering into your ear! But you can have HR Specialist: Employment Law on your side. To answer your questions. To cut through the “legalese.” To give you reliable, legally authoritative opinions on the treacherous legal maze that awaits you every day, such as...
Can Your Employees Moonlight While on Medical Leave? Yes, they can. It seems crazy, but your workers can use their allotted FMLA leave to work at a second job. Is there a way out of this? Yes: Ban workers from moonlighting during any kind of leave and you can stop the madness!
Are Your Pre-Employment Tests Discriminatory? You’d better hope not! For example, if you give a job test, the pass rate for applicants from a protected group must be at least 80% of that for the group with the highest selection rate or the test can be deemed biased. Bottom line: Make certain you are testing job-related qualities and that your tests fulfill a business necessity. Otherwise, scrap them.
When Is the Exit Interview a Bad Idea? Skip it when the employee has been discharged for gross misconduct. Not only will the interview waste your time, it may actually provoke the dismissed employee to sue you!
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- Be ready to justify different punishment for like offenses