Top 5 Employment Laws You Need to Know

May 1st, 2012

As a staffing agency, we know managers are tasked everyday with facing personnel issues, motivating their team, and doing more with less. One important component of success is meeting all those challenges, while still protecting themselves and their companies from the threat of a lawsuit.

And in today’s litigious society, employment-related lawsuits are becoming more and more prevalent.

In fact, the number of wage-and-hour cases filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) grows significantly each year. (The FLSA sets the federal minimum wage and requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for hourly employees who work more than 40 hours a week.) According to the latest Federal Judicial Caseload Statistics, the number of FLSA cases filed in federal court between 2010 and 2011 increased more than 15%.

So besides the FLSA, what are some other important federal employment laws you need to be aware of and comply with?

Here’s a look:

Family Medical Leave Act

The FMLA was passed to allow eligible employees (those with a year or more of service) to take an extended amount of unpaid time off (up to 12 weeks) from work to handle an event such as the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a sick family member, or if they themselves are ill and need to take care of a serious health issue. This law only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.

Age Discrimination

According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it is illegal to discriminate against a job candidate or an employee because of their age (specifically, if they are over the age of 40) when making decisions about hiring, firing, or job promotions.

Job Discrimination

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer cannot consider an individual’s race, religion, sex, or national origin when making important decisions related to hiring, firing, and pay.

Disability Discrimination

Similar to the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers comparable protections to those with disabilities. It prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified candidates and employees based on their disabilities, as long as they can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

As a staffing agency, we know learning about employment laws may not be at the top of your “to do” list. But as long you know what the rules are – and strictly adhere to them – you should be able to protect your business and your bottom line in the process.