There is one major reason that as a company you want to be in compliance with employment law. Figured out what that reason is yet? I will tell you in a minute. First, how do you insure you are in compliance? Here are several ways:
- Know the laws that apply to your company. Not an easy task, especially if you do not have an HR professional on hand. You can do a lot of self-study or you can hire someone like me, or both. Or you can rely on your employment attorney for everything. In reality all three choices employed at once is the best method.
- Once you know the laws make sure you have policies and procedures written that provide guidance to employees and managers alike. And then TRAIN THEM ON these policies and procedures. And then require strict adherence from you managers and supervisors.
- Continually check on your compliance efforts. Realize that supervisors will stray, especially if there are forces that work counter to adherence. For example you put budgetary pressure on your supervisors to control overtime. But the work needs to get done so supervisors convince workers to work off the clock.
- Document, document, document.
When you are not in compliance with employment law you typically get in trouble when you terminate someone. If you mismanage the termination you often get a law suit filed against you. There are number of things you can do to make sure you are terminating people correctly. A long list can be found in this article at the CIO website. In addition to that I counsel clients to do the following:
- Be professional
- Be non-emotional
- Fire for productivity or business related reasons and state those reasons
- Stick to the facts
- Keep it short.
If you are terminating someone and they feel dis-respected they will feel angry. If they feel like they have been mistreated they will look for something to file a lawsuit on. And if you have not been incompliance in wage and hour, or EEO matters, or safety or a myriad of other things that is what they will hang their hat on.
Now to answer the question posed at the beginning. The reason you want to be in compliance is that, according to the CIO article the typical lawsuit costs between $50,000 and $250,000 to defend. If you are a small business try writing that check and see how long you stay in business.
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