Compliance Corner: July 2018
6 Compliance Issues Every Manager Should Know
Federal, state, municipal, and county laws govern (and create) many difficult issues facing employers. These laws cover matters such as leaves of absence, discrimination, disabilities, pay, scheduling, military service, and numerous other compliance concerns. It’s essential for managers to know about these issues, especially those they may confront frequently.
Here is a list of six top compliance concerns every manager and HR professional should keep on their radar:
Family Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law generally granting eligible employees up to 12 weeks of leave per year for various family and medical reasons. Many states and local jurisdictions, however, have their own family or medical leave laws which differ substantially from the FMLA in the burdens they place on employers. Managers should not be so singularly focused on the FMLA that they fail to comply with applicable state, local, and intra-company leave rules.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, and similar state legislation, prohibit discrimination against qualified employees with disabilities and may require employers to provide an accommodation if a person with a disability needs one to perform a job or to enjoy benefits equal to those offered to other employees. Employers, however, are not required to provide an accommodation if it will impose an undue hardship on their operations. Nevertheless, if a requested accommodation would cause undue hardship, employers must still try to identify another accommodation that will be effective.
Minimum Wage and Overtime
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the primary federal wage law in the United States. It establishes the federal minimum wage and requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week. Managers and HR professionals must nevertheless remember that some states, cities, and counties have their own minimum wage and overtime laws which are not preempted by the FLSA if they provide greater benefits to employees.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law establishing rights and benefits for employees, and duties for employers, regarding employees who volunteer for or are called to covered military duty in the uniformed services. In short, with certain exceptions, employees may perform military service in the uniformed services for up to five years and retain reemployment rights with their employer. There are also numerous state laws requiring employers to provide leave to employees who serve in the Armed Forces, including the Reserves and the National Guard. Employers should be cautious and speak with legal counsel if they wish to challenge a returning service member’s attempt to get their job back following a military leave of absence.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her duties because of a pregnancy-related condition, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee—including granting a leave of absence. Many states have similar legislation protecting the rights of pregnant employees, so employers should strive to treat pregnant employees fairly.
A workplace trend in recent years is the increase in predictive scheduling laws, also known as fair scheduling laws. These laws commonly apply to food service, hospitality, or retail industry employers and require, among other things, that covered employers give proper notice to employees before making scheduling changes.
Have Compliance Processes in Place
Managers and HR professionals cannot be expected to be legal experts in every aspect of employee-employer relations. That’s why we have lawyers and workforce management software. Managers and HR professionals are clearly on the front line in the critical role of ensuring that employees are treated legally and fairly, however; and having processes in place that are perceived as fair by employees is the first step in avoiding costly lawsuits.