How to Comply with Federal Employment Laws
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
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.