Helping With The Unique Challenges Of Small-Business Employers
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. At Ken Wigginton, PLLC, our attorneys will help you understand and comply with these laws when your small business hires employees.
What Does Employment Law Cover?
Employment law includes such wide-ranging topics as:
- Employment discrimination (Title VII)
- Labor relations
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Employee benefits
- Wrongful termination
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (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. That’s where we come in. We assist our clients in maintaining compliance-oriented, employment law strategies.
Important Facts For First-Time Employers
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 federal laws and determining the applicability of each to your operation. Together, we’ll address these prime concerns:
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
- 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 workdays 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