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There are many good reasons for small businesses to invest in timely, quality human resources consulting services, including attracting and retaining key talent that can make a business grow. But one that is sometimes overlooked is that of maintaining impeccable HR compliance so as to avoid costly lawsuits or other legal challenges.
The bigger your business gets, the more complex and heavy is the regulatory burden it faces. Small businesses, however, face substantial regulatory hurdles as well - many of which are handled through the HR Department, and yet often lack the resources to hire a permanent team of lawyers to guide them through this legal minefield.
Consultation with experts on HR law issues and situations is often the best help available at an affordable rate, to help small business owners deal with such matters as the following:
1. Avoiding Violating Employee Rights
Both federal and state laws enact very specific stipulations on employee rights that, if violated, could lead to a costly lawsuit.
The Family and Medical Relations Act, for example, guarantees employees family/medical leave (unpaid) in special situations. The National Labor Rights Act gives employees certain collective bargaining powers. And the Affordable Care Act requires businesses of a particular size to offer healthcare benefits.
Such laws are too many and too long and complicated for business owners to navigate alone. Human resources consulting tells you what you need to know when you need to know it to avoid unintentional violations.
2. Averting Recruitment Illegalities
There are regulations that impinge upon the way employers can and can't conduct their recruitment process. Businesses are skating on thin legal ice if they just "wing it” and recruit the way they please.
First, there can't be any discrimination over or irrelevant questions asked about race, religion, sex, age, disabilities, or country of origin (with immigrants.) And hires must be made/not made on business-focused, not personal bases.
You may need human resources consulting to know how best to write up application forms and conduct interviews to minimize any legal risks involved.
3. Not Accidentally Hiring Illegal Workers
Businesses can get in trouble with the law for hiring illegal aliens/workers, OR for conducting employee eligibility inquiries in a discriminatory way. You need good advice from experts in this constantly changing area of law, to avoid the pitfalls on both sides of your legal responsibility.
There are rules on how to fill out an I-9 form, on which documentation you can/can't ask for from applicants, and on how long you need to retain the I-9 in your files (plus on how to securely store it). HR consulting will help you stay compliant to these very detailed regulations.
4. Avoiding Unequal Pay or Wrongful Termination Suits
Beyond complying with minimum wage laws, you also have to give equal pay for equal service to all employees. Plus, promotions have to be handled in a non-discriminatory manner. This kind of discrimination is hard to prove, but it's also easy to take a misstep that exposes you to a lawsuit.
Wrongful terminations are also a major source of lawsuits against former employees. There has to be a legitimate reason for firing someone - and it can't be because they filed a lawsuit against you or it becomes grounds for a second lawsuit. It takes significant expertise to know when you can/can't fire someone legally.
To learn more about the importance of HR compliance and how it can protect you from litigation, contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting today!