Three Employment Laws

Common Employment Laws for Small Businesses

By: Greg Modd

Creating a harmonious workplace that is both productive and compliant with employment laws is crucial for any business, especially small businesses. Drawing from my experiences and professional practice, here are insights into navigating three common employment laws: the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws.

FLSA: A client once faced overtime pay issues, unaware that their "salaried" employee was entitled to overtime under FLSA due to their job duties and pay level. This oversight highlighted the importance of correctly classifying employees. To mitigate such risks, conduct regular audits of employee classifications and ensure all wage and hour policies comply with FLSA requirements. Training management on these classifications can also prevent costly errors.

FMLA: Another client had an employee requiring an extended medical leave, posing operational challenges. By proactively developing a comprehensive FMLA policy and cross-training staff, they managed the absence effectively, ensuring legal compliance and maintaining operational continuity. To mitigate risks associated with FMLA, clear policies must be established and communicated to employees, and open lines of communication must be maintained with those on leave to manage expectations and plan for their return or temporary replacements.

EEO Law: Encountering a discrimination claim can be a daunting experience. A client once navigated this by implementing regular diversity and anti-discrimination training sessions, fostering a harmonious culture, and establishing a straightforward, confidential process for handling complaints. Mitigating risks in this area involves creating a workplace that values people, backed by strict policies against discrimination and harassment, and a clear procedure for investigating and resolving complaints.

The key to mitigating risk in each area involves proactive policies, regular training, and a culture of compliance and respect. Ensuring your small business is informed and adherent to these laws protects you from legal risks and contributes to a positive workplace environment.