TIGER Talk Recap: Employment Law For Early Stage Entrepreneurs
Business owners must understand how to stay compliant with the law and ensure their employment practices are sound. This can be challenging because business owners aren’t usually lawyers, and may not even be aware of all of the laws and the repercussions for not following them.
Mindi Wells of Wells Law, LLC was Innovate New Albany’s TIGER Talk presenter on June 29. Her presentation, “Employment Law for Early Stage Entrepreneurs: 12 Landmines & Easy Ways to Avoid Them” gave business owners advice for self-audits and staying out of trouble.
Here are the 12 landmines she talked about and how to avoid them.
1. Posters. Businesses are required to have certain posters available and accessible in conspicuous spaces for applicants and employees. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has a list of these posters on their website, and which ones you need to display based on the type of business and number of employees you have.
2. Immigration & I-9 Issues. H-1B Visas, the new I-9 form, must be completed on every employee to make sure they are able to work in this country. There are rules about how long you need to keep the records and other requirements on the USCIS’s website.
3. Wage & Hour Law Changes. There is a new minimum wage as of January and new overtime rules are coming next year. It’s very important that salaried employees pass a job duties test to determine if they are exempt from being paid overtime. There is also a test for interns to ensure an educational component to the internship you are offering.
4. Independent Contractor Classifications. Like your salaried employees, make sure your independent contractors are categorized appropriately by completing a seven part test proving you don’t have to pay benefits or taxes on them.
5. Pay History and Pay Equality. Mindi advised asking applicants for theirsalary expectations instead of their salary history, or just include the salary range when you post the job. Offering an individual a salary consistent with their past salaries instead of the position’s grade keeps underpaid minorities and women at a lower salary threshold.
6. FMLA and ADA. There are updated forms that should be used beginning this month. Some employees can qualify for both FMLA and ADA, so proceed with caution.
7. Payroll. Mindi said a new tax table kicked out this year, a new W-4 came out February 28, and the IRS anticipates further changes to the W-4 in 2019. She advised checking the federal forms and posters every January to make sure you are using the most current documents.
8. Marijuana. The federal law still considers marijuana an illegal substance, but Ohio has passed medical marijuana regulations. Mindi advised having a policy on how you will treat those who use marijuana for medical reasons, and how you will test for it.
9. Concealed Carry. There were new laws implemented in March of 2017 that allows someone with a concealed carry permit to have a secured weapon in their car on company property. Mindi says you should have a policy about
how you will prohibit weapons at work except for where they are allowed by law.
10. Sexual Harassment. Be sure you have a policy that explains the complaint procedure, investigation procedures and training.
11. Retaliation. This is the number one complaint filed with the EEOC. Train all of your staff, especially front-end supervisors, about the causal connection between a protected activity and an adverse employment action.
12. Employee Handbooks. Be sure they are updated with your most current policies and procedures.
Wells Law, LLC provides advice, counsel and training on workplace issues to ensure you are in compliance with the laws and regulations. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the many workshops Wells Law offers throughout the year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website.
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