One of the many responsibilities of a business owner is to ensure that the company’s human resources department complies with all federal, state, and local laws that govern how it operates. Failure to do so could result in penalties, fines, employee lawsuits, or even the closure of the business. The purpose of the various laws is to protect the employees, agents, and stakeholders of a company. However, they can be complex and seem to grow in number all the time.
Common Compliance Issues
Human resources representatives must stay away from personal questions and non-professional behavior when interviewing potential candidates for a job opening. For example, they can’t ask the person’s age or whether a young female interviewee plans to become pregnant.
Additionally, race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, family status, and national origin are all considered a protected class. Showing discrimination or favoritism based on any of these qualities can result in fines as high as $300,000 depending on the size of the company. An applicant can sue a company if he or she feels that it based its hiring decision on one of these criteria and not on merit.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay
Each state sets its own minimum wage requirements that employers must follow. Some allow for a lower wage if the worker is under 18 or during a training period. All hourly employees must also receive one and one-half times their normal rate for any hours worked over 40 in a seven-day period. Companies are free to determine their own work week, such as Sunday to Saturday or Monday to Sunday.
On-the-Job Safety and Workers’ Compensation
It’s up to the employer to make the work environment safe for employees. This includes providing all necessary safety gear. An employer can make the purchase of certain equipment, such as steel-toed boots, a requirement for the job. All employers must follow the mandates of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or face hefty fines. OSHA can make unscheduled visits and cite companies for safety violations. However, it usually provides several months for the company to get up to standard.
South Carolina requires employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage except in these instances:
- The business has four or fewer employees
- Railway express and railroad companies and employees
- Federal employees based in South Carolina
- Some casual employees
- Agricultural employees
- Corporate officers appointed by election
- Some real estate agents
Workers’ compensation pays all medial costs related to an on-the-job illness or injury as well as two-thirds of the employee’s weekly salary. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission maintains several laws regarding the injured employee’s classification and how long he or she can receive payment.
Don’t Let Non-Compliance Put You Out of Business
These are just three of numerous human resources compliance issues that every employer must manage. We offer high-level, local support for businesses in Columbia, South Carolina and the surrounding communities to help them manage payroll, compliance, and several other human resource functions. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help your business remain compliant.