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HR Legal Compliance: A Must-Know for Every HR Professional

HR Jan 18, 2023

HR professionals are responsible for strategically managing an organization's personnel.

The employment law that provides employee rights and employer duties helps them. A business must follow these complex and frequently revised regulations. It risks legal action, financial losses, and reputational damage if not.

There's a high demand for human resources professionals. They know HR regulations and the typical legal challenges in the workplace. This is because of the severe implications of rule-breaking.

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Hiring an employment law lawyer to educate your HR team is something everyone should do.

Human resources compliance refers to formulating policies and processes.

It guarantees your business complies with all applicable employment and labor laws. Human resources strive to follow federal and state laws. They ensure that all workers follow established policies.

Considering that all employers must abide by the law, HR compliance is crucial to your company's success. If you break the law, your company might face hefty fines. Indeed, it would be disastrous.

To put it another way, HR managers must prioritize HR compliance to safeguard the business.

Who Is an Employment Law Attorney?

An employment law lawyer is also called an employment law attorney.

They are lawyers whose area of expertise is employment law. They are well aware of all the legalities that a workplace follows. With all their legal knowledge, they know best how to guide you through an employment lawsuit.

Even before a lawsuit hinders the efficiency of your business, an employment law lawyer will help you. They will keep you up-to-date with all the possible outcomes of your actions.

They also help mediate employer employee conflicts within an enterprise.

You can avoid monetary losses by hiring a permanent employment law lawyer for your company. A permanent employment lawyer has the legal knowledge to advise employers on the best practices in labor, human resources, and other related issues.

If you're looking for legal assistance in your area, simply search "find lawyers near me" to check out reviews and locate experienced professionals who can help you navigate employment law matters effectively.

In addition to providing legal advice, they can help protect your business from potential lawsuits or claims. Without an employment law lawyer, you might face severe financial losses and defamation. This impacts badly on the ROI.

Why Should HR Professionals Be Legally Educated?

Human resources occupations vary widely. Employees in the human resources department may have various responsibilities.

Depending on their specific job title, their functions will vary even within the same department. Not all human resources managers are responsible for the training and development of their staff.

Some people are considered "specialists," handling solely salary and benefits. On the other hand, others are "generalists," taking on everything. However, HR legal compliance training is a fundamental responsibility of a business.

The law impacts everyone who works in human resources (HR). These experts often face impromptu choices with significant legal ramifications. With time and experience, they acquire the confidence to make these choices.

They also know when to consult with outside counsel thanks to their familiarity with standard HR legislation.

Human resources experts who are also well-versed in the law have an edge in the workplace. This is because they may take measures to lessen the likelihood of legal action against their employer.

They assist businesses in adhering to the law and avoiding making unnecessary claims. This is done through their familiarity with current legislation and its practical application. They are also vigilant in safeguarding the legal interests of their respective workforce.

HR Compliance Checklist

A company's size is irrelevant when it comes to complying with labor laws and other regulations. To do otherwise might lead to financial penalties, legal trouble, or negative publicity.

Here is a checklist that you must follow faithfully regarding HR compliance.

1. Wages & Working Hours Laws

Wage and hour regulations regulate minimum wage, overtime pay, and maximum work week length. They also prohibit child labor and provide sufficient hours for workers to rest.

The Act of Fair Labor Standards maintains the minimum wage and overtime pay as a federal statute. Nonetheless, several states have stricter restrictions.

  • Human resources managers should know their respective jurisdictions' wage and hour regulations. More and more jurisdictions are implementing legislation to protect employees. These protect the employees from queries regarding their income history, mandated regular work schedules, etc.

2. Prohibitions Against Discrimination

Human resources professionals should familiarize themselves with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Act.

This act prohibits any discrimination that is based on:

  • Age
  • Genetic information
  • Aptitude
  • National origin
  • Race/color
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex or religion

People working in human resources should be familiar with these regulations. It will help safeguard various vulnerable populations.

The ADA, the Equal Pay, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act protect employees. They protect against discrimination at every stage of employment starting from the application process till termination.

Potential employees may sue companies for discrimination based on how job descriptions are written long before an interview is scheduled. Human resource professionals need to be familiar with the laws. There are many ways to avoid taking actions that might harm their company.

3. Policy on Immigration

Employers must verify the legal status of their prospective employees by INA, IRCA, IA, and IIRIRA. These are some of the acts that help demonstrate the permitted level of immigration of an employee.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Noncitizen nationals
  • Foreign nationals with work authorization.

Employers must complete the appropriate papers to verify a candidate's eligibility. This is to avoid breaking anti-discrimination rules.

4. Workplace Safety Regulations

To ensure that all workplaces were safe for employees, the OSHA was signed into law by Congress in 1970. Labor's Occupational Safety & Health department in The United States enforces this policy.

Laws about workers' compensation are another example of legislation with a safety-first objective. These guidelines outline the administration of disability programs for government employees who sustain injuries on the job. There are different HR employment laws in place to protect workers in the private and public sectors.

5. Whistleblower Protection laws

It is essential for workers to feel comfortable and welcome in reporting breaches they observe in the workplace. The OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) has a Whistleblower Protection Program.

This program shields workers from retribution or termination if they uncover or disclose problems at work. Workers can voice their concerns under these rights without the risk of being disciplined or terminated. If an employer takes retaliatory action against an employee, they are breaking the law and subject to penalties.

6. Data Security Laws

Data security is an important part of any Human Resource (HR) compliance checklist. All businesses must comply with data security laws to protect employee and customer data. Failing to comply with these laws can result in costly penalties and fines, as well as damage to a company’s reputation.

This subcategory of compliance pertains to the measures that companies and government organizations have in place to safeguard data, protect their confidentiality, and shield it from being exposed through breaches in their security.

In the broad sense, this relates to client information.  It also includes details about staff members and records of financial transactions.

However, According to law, residents now have the legal right to find out what information a firm has saved on them. They can also find out what data was released to third parties. This legal right was previously unavailable.

Explore more info on ISO 27001 certification and its significance for businesses. It’s a standard that is specifically targeted at improving data security for businesses of all sizes, and so it is something that HR professionals should certainly consider exploring in order to sidestep some of the potential pitfalls relating to privacy discussed earlier, as well as to increase stakeholder trust.

7. Medical and Family Leave

Under the Act of FMLA, an employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in 12 months without losing their job. Employees can use this time off for the birth & nourishment of a new child

It will also help them bond with an adopted or fostered child, take care of a close family member, or take care of an existing critical health condition. The trend in the workplace is to give more time off and pay for it, even though few changes are expected at the federal level.

8. Benefits for Employees

There are laws to protect workers' rights to fair treatment, equal pay, and safe working conditions. Aside from that, the rules have ways for employees to learn about their legal rights and for corrective actions to be taken if rules are broken.

The rules are made with the needs of the business in mind. Legally, an employer is allowed to hire and fire people as they see fit. Setting clear legal standards can reduce operational ambiguity. Giving employers advice materials to help them do their jobs is also a plus.

The benefits are not just useful for business. Setting up rules that limit the number of jobs for minors lowers the number of work-related illnesses and accidents. It ensures that all workers are treated fairly and with respect which helps to make society more humane and fair.

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Final Thoughts

HR professionals are accountable for managing an organization's workforce. Otherwise, business enterprises may face severe economic and reputational harm.

There is a high need for human resources experts with an understanding of HR rules and the usual legal difficulties in the workplace. The ideal policy is to hire an employment law attorney to train the HR department.

There are some basic laws that a working environment must be aware of. They have all been discussed in detail. Ensure your business keeps a list of all of them and has an expert employment law attorney.


Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Creator - Columnist

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