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Running a Business: Employment Law Basics

Running a business is a complex and ever-changing endeavor, and one of the most critical aspects of business management is understanding and staying up-to-date with employment law. As an employer, you are responsible for knowing and complying with the many laws that apply to your employees.

If you’re new to business ownership, the array of employment laws can seem daunting. But don’t worry; getting up to speed on the basics is easy. Here are some of the most influential employment laws employers should know about.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The FLSA is a federal law establishing the minimum wage, record-keeping, and overtime pay regulations for most private and public sector employees. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) enforces the FLSA.

The FLSA covers all employees engaged in interstate commerce, including those working in offices, factories, hospitals, warehouses, and other businesses. State laws that offer similar protections may cover employees whom the FLSA does not cover.

As an employer, you must comply with the provisions of the FLSA, including paying employees at least the federal minimum wage and providing overtime pay for hours over 40 in a workweek. You are also responsible for maintaining accurate records of employee wages and hours worked.

If you violate the FLSA, you may be subject to civil and criminal penalties. So, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the law and ensure you comply.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The EEOC is a federal agency responsible for enforcing laws that make it illegal to discriminate against employees based on specific protected characteristics. These include race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, and genetic information.

The EEOC enforces laws prohibiting discrimination in all employment aspects, including hiring, firing, promotions, wages, and benefits. The EEOC’s regulations cover employers with 15 or more employees.

Suppose an employee files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. In that case, the agency will investigate to determine if there is enough evidence to support the claim. If the EEOC finds that discrimination occurred, it may take action against the employer, such as ordering the employer to stop the discriminatory practices and provide relief to the victim(s) of discrimination.

Understanding and complying with the EEOC’s regulations is crucial to avoiding employment discrimination claims. This way, you can create a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that enforces workplace safety standards.

OSHA’s regulations cover all aspects of workplace safety, including the proper use of personal protective equipment, hazard communication, and emergency response plans. Employers must also provide employees with information and training on how to perform their job duties safely.

You must comply with OSHA’s regulations whether you have employees or not. Failure to do so can result in citations and fines from OSHA. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to learn about workplace safety standards and ensure your workplace meets them.

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Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)

Employers must verify that all employees are authorized to work in the United States. The IRCA requires employers to verify all new hires’ identities and eligibility for employment.

To comply with IRCA, you must complete Form I-9 for each new employee and keep it on file. You must also ensure that the documents presented by the employee to establish identity and employment eligibility are genuine and belong to the employee.

You may be subject to civil and criminal penalties if you knowingly hire or continue to employ unauthorized workers. But sometimes, immigrants are wrongfully accused of being unauthorized to work in the United States. If this happens to you or someone you know, it’s vital to seek legal help as soon as possible.

You can find resources for immigration bonds on many legal websites. Checking these resources can help you get the information and assistance you need if someone you know is facing unlawful detention. In doing so, you can help prevent wrongful deportation.

The above are just a few labor laws employers must be aware of. Many other federal, state, and local laws may apply to your business. Taking the time to learn about all the laws that apply to your business can help you avoid costly penalties and create a safe and fair workplace for your employees.

And above all else, it’s essential to consult with an attorney to ensure you comply with all applicable laws. This way, you can avoid costly mistakes and create a business that runs smoothly.

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