Labor and Employment Law – Three Concerns for Business Owners to Address
Employment law governs interactions between management and labor. It also details the way in which management is responsible for the environment of the workplace and, to a certain degree, interactions between labor force members. Employment law continues to evolve in response to a changing society, so business owners need to be proactive about remaining compliant. EEOC compliance software and ad tracking software can be valuable tools in meeting compliance goals. There are three compliance concerns all business owners must be sure to address.
1) Diversity in the Workplace
A lack of diversity in the labor force of a particular business is not necessarily due to deliberate efforts to exclude a specific group or groups. It can sometimes be a result of not casting the employment opportunity net wide enough to attract diverse applicants during hiring periods. However, that explanation may not suffice in the event of a complaint. Therefore, a special effort should be made to avoid the appearance of hiring discrimination by placing ads for employees in a variety of venues. Ad tracking software can help keep track of the success of ad locations in attracting a diverse group of applicants and EEOC compliance software can be a labor-saving means of tracking hires to ensure that diversity goals are being met.
2) Maintain an EEOC Compliant Atmosphere
An essential element of a successfully diverse labor force is an atmosphere that is respectful of differences, featuring zero tolerance for the harassment of protected groups. The bottom line on this matter is simple. The business owner is responsible for the work atmosphere and must see to it that sexual harassment, discrimination, and other behaviors specifically addressed in employment law are not tolerated. In the event of such a problem, there should be specific and effective means of resolution available to the labor force. Obviously, it should be plain that retaliatory action against a complainant is unacceptable.
3) The Termination Paper Trail
Termination has its dangers for the business owner. A job loss, particularly in this challenging economic climate, may not be accepted gracefully. Tempers could flare, resulting in an unjustified complaint. It is essential to make sure that all terminations comply with the letter of the law and to make sure that every step of the process is documented, in case it is necessary to defend the business in court against a wrongful termination complaint. In potentially contentious matters like termination, there can never be too much documentation.
In order to follow the letter of the law, however, it is necessary to know the law, and to keep track of its evolution through court rulings and interpretations of the law. Recent decisions concerning automatic terminations related to not returning to work after a leave of absence offers a good example of the sort of changing applications of employment law that a business owner must keep up with the remain compliant with EEOC expectations. According to recent EEOC interpretation, that sort of termination may violate the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is a business owner’s responsibility to know this and to avoid noncompliance, if compliance is his or her goal.
Business owners that invest in being proactive about EEOC compliance protect their interests now and in the future. Taking the time to track and record information, whether it be positive, such as progress towards meeting staff diversity goals, or negative, like a sexual harassment complaint from an employee, can only be positive in the long-term, if a business owner’s goal is employment law compliance and a long-term good reputation.