You Are Probably Breaking the Law – And You Don’t Even Realize It

You Are Probably Breaking the Law – And You Don’t Even Realize It

If you are working in management, there probably isn’t a day that goes by without you breaking some law. Between city, county, state, agency, and federal laws, no one really knows how many laws there are in the United States (or at least, my quick Google search didn’t find anything). But, since this is a Human Resources blog, we’ll just deal with employment laws. That makes this whole thing easier, right?

Not exactly. According to the Department of Labor (DOL) there are more than 180 federal laws that affect employment. Adding various state, county, and city laws, we are looking at a much larger number.

Have you ever called an hourly employee over the weekend? How about figuring out if that salaried employee should really be paid overtime? Or what did you do when that employee came to you, and stated they were being sexually harassed by a co-worker? Is that contractor really supposed to be an employee? Did you not hire a woman because she was pregnant, married, or too old?

If you have done any of those things, it is highly likely that you broke the law.
Fear not, oh manager, for there are many counter-measures you can put into place to help situations just like these.

Since this is just the first blog post, I’ll provide some general advice.

  1. Follow the Golden Rule. Almost every situation can be corrected if you are consciously treating employees as you yourself would like to be treated. This will not solve all your problems, but it will certainly help.
  2. Treat all applicants and employees fairly. Don’t decide not to hire someone based on their race, age, religion, gender, or disability. Last year alone, there were over 89,000 charges filed regarding discrimination in the workplace, according the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Over the past 10 years (2005-2015) there were almost one million discrimination claims filed, and those numbers are expected to continue to rise.
  3. Ensure that employees are paid fair wages for the work completed, including overtime.
  4. Do not show favoritism in the workplace.
  5. Find a good HR Manager, employment attorney, or use an outside company to provide assistance with these concerns in particular.

Over the next several of posts, we will be looking at specific situations, and how to best handle each one. Please note that this blog is not meant to provide legal advice, but is merely an HR guy sharing HR advice that just might help you out.

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