Federal Employment Laws
Federal employment laws must be a part of your employee handbook so that you don’t get yourself in a bunch of trouble. Remember that ignorance is no excuse for violating not only the federal laws, but state laws also. California employment law are some of the most stringent, so if your business is in California make sure you take a close look at both the federal and state employment laws. It may be pretty depressing but it still must be done!
If you have to hire someone to replace that person…
Let’s take a look first at the Family Medical Leave Act which is just one of the many federal employment laws. Much of this will depend on how large your business is and how many employees you have. Understand also that I am not an employment attorney, nor should you take anything as legal advice. This is important but my intent here is to make sure you understand how very important it is to have not only an employee handbook with the right and legal information in it, but also you understand it completely. Trust me if it applies to you it will have a financial impact on your business.
The Family Medical Leave Act provides for qualified employees to take up to a certain number of weeks off without jeopardizing their employment with you. This is one of the federal employment laws that offer’s protection for employees against losing their job. Some of the qualifying standards would be if the employee or a close family member has a serious medical condition. Now this is a generalization but the bottom line is that you must hold their job open. For the most part this is a very good law but if you have to hire someone to replace that person during the time they are out, you’re going to want to make sure that you hire them as a temporary employee so that when the individual returns you will terminate that employee (the temporary one) without any problems.
Understand like I mentioned early not only do the federal employment laws affect you but states laws like the California employment laws have an impact as well. In the example above about the Family Medical Leave Act, states like California will offer additional benefits so make sure you know what they are. Again, make sure you offer information within you’re employee handbook. Most employee handbook software programs will offer some pretty good prewritten language produced by employment attorneys. This will not preclude your responsibility to make sure you are administering the laws correctly. I repeat ignorance is no excuse!
The real question becomes what is reasonable…
Another one of the Federal employment laws that you will want to include in your employee handbook would be the Americans with Disabilities Act. Again, it will depend on whether your business meets certain criteria. I am not putting the current regulation within this article on purpose in case they change or you misunderstand. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that employers have to consider making potential accommodations for individuals that have disabilities provided they are reasonable. All in all I am in favor of this federal law. The real question becomes what is reasonable. I have a son who is totally disabled and I have great compassion for those with a disability.
Other federal employment laws would be for protection against discrimination and harassment. Again, many state employment laws offer protection against these same things and in some cases are more stringent. I hate to keep picking on the same state but California’s employment laws place a significant burden on employers concerning sexual harassment with their AB1825 sexual harassment law. The federal law makes it very important to provide your employees with information on how to do certain things like reporting sexual harassment if they are a victim of it.
I can’t stress enough why it is so very important to have an employee handbook that includes all the federal laws, as well as, the state employment laws. Don’t discount its importance and having one and insuring your employees read and sign for it will go a long way to protecting you against many of the issues that involve the federal employment laws.
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
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