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Today's business world is fraught with all manner of legal challenges approaching from a variety of fronts and sources. It's invariably the HR department that deals with the bulk of employer-employee interactions and implements company policies that need to be in full compliance with existing legislation.
For these reasons, many companies opt to either outsource their whole HR department or to simply invest in occasional, as-needed, HR consulting services.
Here are 4 of the most common legal pitfalls that HR consulting or outsourcing can help you avoid:
1. Lawsuits Over Hiring/Firing/Promotions
Every company must have a well regulated and streamlined recruitment process. Without one, you are making yourself an easier target for discrimination lawsuits over a failure to employ. There are certain questions you can or can't ask a job applicant in an interview, for example, and everyone has to be treated equally. The same applies when evaluating employees for promotion. Failure to promote, or promoting someone else with far less skill for the position, can create legal pitfalls.
Terminations are another area full of potential for thorny legal issues. You need to have a valid reason for firing someone and it most certainly can't be in retaliation for another lawsuit they may have already filed against you because that could become grounds for a new suit (regardless of the legitimacy of the first one). It’s important to remain above reproach when it comes to your hiring and firing processes so that you can avoid opening yourself up to litigation.
2. Lawsuits Over Wages & Benefits
While businesses are obviously allowed to set wages at different levels than their competitors, there are legal limits on these freedoms. Wage governance legislation dictates wages can't vary based on gender or race. Nor can they be below the federal, state, or local minimum wage threshold.
As to benefits, the ACA is still alive, well, and likely to be enforced. Employers with 51 or more full-time workers must offer at least the minimum essential healthcare coverage or risk severe IRS penalties. Some companies have been assessed ESRPs of multiple millions of dollars - and with the IRS hiring new staff to handle the big tax law changes of 2017, you can be sure they will have plenty of hands on deck to fully enforce the ACA, regardless of how it changes in the years ahead.
3. Sexual Harassment and Gender Bias Suits
Sexual harassment and gender bias suits have become near epidemic in some quarters, and it only takes one for you to see a negative impact on your business' bottom line.
It's not always second nature to know what the law will or might see as harassment, and it's unpredictable what a judge might rule on these matters. If you are even perceived as creating a hostile work environment for an employee based on gender or gender identity, you could suffer a major judgment. Implementing policies that treat all employees with respect and holding everyone accountable for following those policies, will be vital to creating a company culture that will protect both you and your employees.
4. Lack Of Tax Compliance
Payroll, deductions, wage garnishments, bonuses, and a host of other financial matters collide and cause confusion for many business owners as they get ready for tax time. With so many different categories, all of which have their own regulations, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or to make a mistake.
It's not always enough to just have an accountant and some tax software. Sometimes, tax issues impinge on HR issues in ways that require in-depth knowledge of HR law. It’s important to ensure that the employees tasked with the responsibilities are given the appropriate training and support necessary to ensure their success.
You can't afford to risk falling into an expensive legal pitfall. You work too hard to make your business succeed to let that happen. By making use of timely advice from readily available HR law experts you can protect your company and your employees from costly mistakes.
To learn more about how human resources consulting can help your business succeed, contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting today!