Managing employees can be a difficult and complex task, but understanding your obligations as an employer is of vital importance. There are various federal and state laws in place that address employment. As a small business owner, it's a good idea to have a basic understanding of these laws so that you can make sure your business is in compliance with them. FindLaw's Employment Law Resources section provides information and resources that will help you better understand your state's employment laws, draft your own employment contracts, and comply with federal labor regulations. In this section you can also find sample anti-discrimination and harassment policies, independent contractor and consultant agreements, and employment termination contracts.
Required Labor Posters
Employers are required to display certain posters that summarize state and federal employment laws. These posters are meant to inform employees of their rights and responsibilities, and should be posted in an area that is clearly visible to employees. The federal posters that your business is required to post will vary based on your industry and the number of workers you employ. Some examples of required federal labor posters include those relating to minimum wage and anti-discrimination laws.
In addition to required federal labor posters, you may have to display posters related to state labor laws. For example, in California, businesses (regardless of size) are required to display a poster about paid sick leave for employees. It's important to check with your state's department of labor to figure out which state law posters you should have displayed at your business.
Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies
It's important to maintain a workplace that is safe and pleasant for you and your employees. One way to do this is to implement clear anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. In fact, under some federal laws and many state laws, certain businesses are required to establish such policies. Such policies give employees a clear explanation on the types of behavior that are appropriate and those that will not be tolerated by the employer. Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies can also provide a defense for an employer if there is ever a lawsuit involving discrimination or harassment.
The most important thing to remember is that if there is a written policy in place, the employer must follow it and apply it equally to all employees. It's helpful to include a section that outlines how an employee can report discriminatory or harassing behavior. A provision that includes the punishment for engaging in discriminatory or harassing behavior can also be helpful, although you may want to leave this section broad so that you can decide on the appropriate punishment depending on the particular circumstances of the incident.
Hiring an Employment Law Attorney
It's very important to make sure your business is in compliance with all employment laws that are required of a business in your particular industry and location. If you have questions or concerns about the employment laws that apply to your business, you may want to contact an experienced employment law attorney near you.