Employment Laws Every Business Owner Should Know About
by Chris Hinson
As a business owner you need to be aware of the various employment laws and how they affect your employment practices and procedures. Federal and state employment laws regulate everything from what kinds of questions you can ask potential job applicants to how employees are treated. State laws vary and may be more stringent than the Federal employment laws. What follows is a brief description of the Federal employment and labor laws that might affect your business.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin discrimination. It applies to employers with fifteen or more employees.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions and applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, leave, and benefits.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. It applies to employers with fifteen or more employees.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits age discrimination against individuals who are forty years of age or older. It applies to employers with twenty or more employees.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits wage discrimination between men and women in substantially equal jobs within the same establishment.
The Fair Labor Standards Act prescribes minimum wage and overtime pay standards and child labor rules.
The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of the employee or a family member of the employee. It applies to employers with fifty or more employees.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act prohibits employers from discriminating in employment on the basis of citizenship or national origin. It also requires employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of all employees. The law applies to employers with as few as four employees.
Make sure your business complies with these laws in all of its employment practices and policies. Check with your attorney to make sure your employment manual addresses these laws where necessary. If you don't have an employment manual, a lawyer who practices in the area of employment law can help you create one. Your attorney can also help you understand how your State's employment laws affect your business.