This article was written by Robin Noah, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor
Labor law compliance gets more difficult each year… and it is not going away anytime soon.
Managing risk to prevent lawsuits is a challenge for every employer. Consider that being kind, allowing variables from policies and sometimes flexibility in work schedules is an invitation to violate employee laws. An act of kindness can sometimes become a business liability.
There are many areas that are governed by some rule or regulation or policy. Here are some of the most common areas where employers can get into legal situations:
- Exempt/nonexempt employee classification
- Meal breaks
- Independent contractor status
- Harassment and discrimination
- Hours of work
- Leaves of Absence
- Overtime Pay
- Deductions from wages
- Use of At Will
- Final paycheck
A good example is the new AB 469 signed by Governor Brown October 2011. Known as the Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011 it became effective January 1, 2012. The bill requires that all employers must provide non-exempt and other employees at the time of hire with a written notice that contains specified information. It must be provided in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee.
The Labor Commissioner has made available a template that complies with the requirements of the notice.
This bill would make it a misdemeanor if an employer willfully violates specified wage statutes or orders.
I suggest that you learn more about this law as soon as possible.
You can find specific information relating to this law at several web sites:
Your best protection is knowledge. There is a wealth of information on the internet. Make it a practice to visit the websites that affect employer/employee relations.
Start off by visiting the United States Department of labor web site www.dol.gov/compliance/ ; for the state of California labor laws visit www.labor.ca.gov/laborlawreg.htm.
When making inquiries regarding labor laws, be sure to ask for the California rule to ensure that you are complying with your state’s laws.
As usual be aware of any collective bargaining agreements that may override policies and labor law rules.