A key to a successful business is often their workforce. What will happen to a company if its workforce isn’t qualified, motivated, and trained? It will stagnate, falter, and fail if the problems persist. Employment law covers local, state, and federal regulation of the employer-employee relationship. Compliance can be expensive and difficult, but it may prevent costly legal claims and improve management’s relations with a company’s workforce.
What Is Human Relations?
As a lawyer, like an business partnership lawyer could tell you, the human relations, human resources, or personnel department is crucial in managing your company. Although they can vary from employer to employer, ideally, some critical human relations (HR) functions include the fact that they:
- Are responsible for attracting, recruiting, and hiring qualified individuals to fill positions
- Assist in a new employee’s transition into the organization
- Are the liaison between employees and management, working to maintain positive relationships
- Oversee performance appraisal systems, guide managers and employees on setting goals, conduct evaluations, and implement performance improvement plans. HR also manages the process of ending an employee’s employment
- Identify employees’ training needs and develop programs to enhance their skills and knowledge
- Manage employee compensation and benefits
- Develop and update company HR policies, ensuring they comply with employment laws and regulations as well as industry best practices
- Works to protect the employer’s interests with internal or outside attorneys when the organization is accused of wrongdoing
- Create and implement workplace health and safety policies
- Work to resolve disputes between employees
It would be difficult for an employer to succeed if the HR department was not functioning properly.
What Is Employment Law?
Every HR area is regulated to some extent. If an employer violates a law, the consequences vary widely depending on which law is at issue and the facts of the situation. The matter may be quickly and inexpensively resolved, or an expensive jury verdict against an employer in a high-profile case may threaten its existence.
Some employment laws cover:
- Discrimination against applicants or employees based on their protected classes, such as sex, race, color, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. This covers hiring, firing, layoffs, harassment, pay rates, terms and conditions of employment, discipline, promotions, and demotions
- The reasonable accommodation of disabled and pregnant employees
- Allowing paid or unpaid leave for medical issues that impact the employee or a family member
- Standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor
- Occupational safety
- Employees’ rights and abilities to join a union and engage in collective acts to improve their pay, working conditions, and benefits
- The hiring and employment of immigrants authorized to work in the US
- Compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses they developed while performing their duties
- Preventing retaliation against an employee for reporting legal, regulatory, or ethical violations internally to an outside group or government agency (whistleblowing). Retaliation is also illegal if it’s in response to complaints of unlawful discrimination, filing for workers’ or unemployment compensation benefits, seeking a medical or pregnancy leave, asking for an accommodation to a disability, or cooperating with an investigation into one of these issues
See How An Employment Lawyer Can Help You
Our friends at Focus Law LA know that state and local laws and regulations vary. If you employ people in different states or locations within a state, your business may face a variety of employment law obligations. If an HR or employment law problem can be prevented or addressed before it becomes a significant concern, it will be easier and less expensive for an employer to handle. Reach out to a trusted law firm for help now.