Talking about human resources is not anyone’s idea of a good time. Most employers view it as something that has to be done like paying the bills. But complying with HR laws can be a time-consuming task, especially when you have to contend with federal, state and local legislation at the same time.
Unless you rigorously follow all the latest updates from the various state and federal labor departments, it’s likely that at least a few of your policies or handbooks are out of date. Does this mean that you are in legal trouble? The problem with non compliance of HR laws is that few businesses notice it until it becomes an issue. However it can land you in trouble with employees, their legal representatives or even government investigators.
Given the complex nature of HR legislation, it is more than likely that your clinic has a few issues that need to be sorted out. The prudent thing is to go through your policies, statements and other practices at timely intervals. Find the mistakes and fix them before they become major problems. You don’t want to find out that your payroll policy has been out of date only when your employee files for damages.
Common Areas of HR Non-Compliance
Pay and wage practices
As a practice owner, you have to be aware of the ins and outs of payroll and wage payments. Many employers inadvertently make mistakes when it comes to payroll calculation, specifically overtime and incorrect deductions. For instance, you may be making mistakes when it comes to overtime rates or calculating unauthorized overtime. While some employees are exempt from overtime, others may not be.
Make sure you’re classifying employees, work hours and overtime correctly. Even a simple mistake in calculating overtime can result in fines, penalties or years worth of overtime payments. Also ensure that insurance deductions, Social Security withholdings and other salary exemptions are made correctly for each employee. Remember, you have to comply with local and state laws alongside federal regulations.
Employment regulations change all the time. New legislation is introduced every year at some level and existing laws are amended. Can you say that your employee handbook or other policy statements are up to date? While this may seem to be a minor issue at first glance, it can have drastic consequences. These policies may make the difference between winning or losing a lawsuit from a former or current employee. Investigators often use outdated policies as red flags for digging deeper and finding other potential problems. If you haven’t bothered to update your policies in a while, it’s a good idea to go in and check that they comply with the relevant legislation. As a general rule of thumb, you should be updating your policies at least on an annual basis.
Policies that violate employee rights
Policies that appear sensible at first glance like using work devices for personal activities can actually be illegal. Many clinics forbid employees from making derogatory remarks about the practice on social media or insist that all information relating to the clinic is confidential. Such policies on the books may actually be in contravention of local or state laws. Federal labor bureaus generally find such broad statements and rules to be violating employee rights. In fact, preventing your employees from talking about their salary or contract is also illegal. That is something that many businesses see as a normal practice but can get you in legal HR trouble.
Remember that ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially when it comes to HR. When push comes to shove, what matters is whether you are on the right or wrong side of the law.