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5 Legal Regulations Employers Need to Understand


If you are hiring employees for your personal business, you should be aware of the legal regulations in your area. Though there are federal employee regulations there may be state regulations as well. It would be wise to know these work regulations and comply to them so that you are not in danger of breaking the law and creating legal problems that could have been avoided.

1. Hiring Regulations

Even while advertising for employees, you must be careful in "who" you advertise to work for you. In recent years, discrimination has become a big deal, and even innocent mistakes could get you into a lawsuit. For example, make sure you are hiring for a "salesperson" not a "salesman", or a member of your "wait staff" instead of a "waiter". In some states it is not legal to specify that a specific degree is needed. In these cases, you could mention that a degree or experience is preferred.

When you interview an applicant, make sure you document what was said throughout the interview. Do not discuss personal items unless it would pertain to the position. Keep your discussion to the experience of the potential employee and what the responsibilities they would be expected to perform if hired. Hire the person best for the job. Do not discriminate against anyone because they look different or have different views that you. Keep the documentation of your interviews as proof of why you have made your decision.

If you are interested in checking out an applicant's past or issuing a drug test, check with your county clerk for the regulations for businesses in your state. In most cases, you are allowed to do background checks if you inform the potential employee upfront, but some states do not allow a formal investigation.

2. Filing Regulations

After hiring an employee, it is good to create a file specifically for interactions with that particular employee. Place their application, resume, interview notes and other HR information into this file, both for safekeeping and for use if a legal issue does arise. Also keep any references from former employees or performance reviews in the file as well. If the employee quits or if you have to fire them, keep their "final exit" with you as well. Check with your state to see how long you should keep the file after an employee leaves your company. Do not discard it immediately.

3. Wages

Know your state's minimum wage and make sure that you are paying your employees at least the minimum wage. In most states, if an employee works more than 40 hours they are entitled to overtime pay. This usually means 1.5 the amount you usually pay per hour.

If you are hiring independent contractors, check the law on what would be appropriate for them. In most cases with contractors, you will pay per project and not per hour, though this is not always the case.

Know benefit laws in your state as well. Some businesses are required to give paid leave for different circumstances or help with health insurance and other benefits. Talk to a member of the county clerk about regulations in your state.

4. Discrimination

Do not let yourself or any of your employees discriminate against one another or to an employee. Make sure your employees know what is inappropriate to talk about to ensure that they do not offend anyone, which may bring up a lawsuit. Enforce these rules and regulations.

5. Termination

If you must fire an employee, make sure to have a formal meeting and escort them out, making sure that they do not take any business information or documents with them. Keep a record of what was spoken about at the final meeting and save it in your employee's file.

Know any state laws for termination. Make sure that you give adequate warnings and are not firing your employee because of anything that could label you a discriminator.

You do not want to face any legal hassles. Know the law before you act to ensure you will be safe.

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