Business Guidance

What Every Employer Needs to Know about HR Compliance

Every employer must comply with employment law, rules and regulations. Business owners have to take a proactive approach to ensure that their organization meets all of its legal obligations at the Federal, State and Local levels. This can include following fair recruitment policies, preventing and addressing workplace discrimination and ensuring staff are compensated fairly.

Deciding how their organization will meet these new compliance responsibilities is an ongoing challenge that is critical to preventing liability. Below are some of the key HR compliance topics business owners need to consider.

Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment is a topic that should never be ignored, but is especially timely given everything that is happening in the media. It is essential that all businesses have written harassment policies and train employees and management on those policies. A formal reporting process should be established and outlined in an employee handbook. Create a culture where all employees feel comfortable coming forward to discuss issues.

State and Local Laws

Every state is passing a variety of laws that impact employers and local municipalities are making things even more complex with laws that affect small geographic regions. It’s imperative to know and understand which State and Local laws may supersede the Federal laws. Some examples include:

-Minimum wage
-Paid time off
-Salary history information
-Gender discrimination

Marijuana Laws

While the legalized use of marijuana is still a State issue, businesses must keep close tabs at the Federal government level. Businesses will have to consider how policies and drug testing processes will be impacted in states that have approved medical marijuana and how to handle an employee who has used marijuana in a state where it is legal for recreational use.

Employee Handbooks

All businesses should review their company handbook on an annual basis. Throughout the year, additional policies should be added as an addendum as needed to ensure all compliances are met. Review your handbook to be sure it includes all new obligations, states an employment at-will relationship, and discusses policies that are currently in force in your organization.

Who is Responsible for Ensuring HR Compliance?

It can be extremely useful to employ an HR professional to strategize, advise and implement policies and procedures to meet compliance requirements, however, depending on the structure of the business and the specific legislation involved, ensuring compliance may be the responsibility of the owner or chief executive in addition to the human resources director. If legal action is taken it will usually be these individuals who are held accountable if their organization is found to have failed to meet its obligations.

While leadership is legally responsible, HR compliance should involve everyone in the organization. HR should implement policies and procedures, managers should be trained and equipped to know what policies and procedures are relevant to any situation, and staff should be well-informed about their expected responsibilities, behavior and how to raise concerns.

While compliance is an essential requirement for all organizations, going above and beyond what is legally required with additional perks can show the organization cares about the wellbeing of its employees and help to attract and retain the best talent. For an organization to achieve long-term success, it needs to engage its staff and be able to resolve any issues quickly before it has a negative impact on the organization. To ensure your business is in compliance, it is vital that you utilize skilled and knowledgeable HR professionals. To learn more about how Univest HR Consulting can help, please feel free to contact me at (267) 646-4467 or

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