Is Your Business in Compliance?

Owning and managing a small business can be overwhelming at times. In today 's employment world with labor laws as they are, every business must be up-to-date on labor law compliance. In the past, small businesses have operated without such protection, but in today's litigious society that is not a prudent business decision.

The challenge for the small business owner is being able to afford a Human Resource expert on staff. Many times, budgets do not allow the business owner to staff this important position. Yet problems and financial liabilities occur when you don't stay complaint with the constantly changing federal and state employment laws, or handle personnel issues properly.

Whether reviewing a possible termination, investigating a claim of harassment or discrimination, handling pay and overtime correctly, or properly dealing with the various types of leave- including pregnancy leave- employment legal issues can be particularly challenging. The list of areas requiring careful consideration, support, and assistance goes on and on. Shari Tastad, Pathways LLC is a local company that is certified in the implementation of Personnel Management Programs designed and supported by the employment experts at Bent Erickson and Associates.

Bent Erickson and Associates (BE&A) is a leading personnel resource for small business professionals. After 30 years in both the legal and practical applications of personnel management, BE&A is keenly aware of the stress and frustrations employers encounter in handling personnel issues. The BE&A products and services provided through Pathways offer a practical, specific, legally up-to-date and affordable Human Resource Department for your business.

Shari Tastad has been working with small business for over 10 years assisting them in maximizing their potential. Services include foundational business skill development, communication workshops, teambuilding, sales training and human resource support. Shari can be reached at 509-750-6603 or via our contact form.

We invite you to take a moment and complete the following Employment Law Compliance Audit mini quiz. Just answer "yes" or "no" to the following 20 questions and in roughly four minutes, you¹ll be able to gauge your knowledge of government regulatory, legal and personnel management problems within your practice.

1. Do you have current, up-to-date written personnel policies that every employer is legally required to provide for their staff?
Y / N

2. Do your employees keep daily written records of hours worked- such as time cards or electronic records?
Y / N

3. Do you pay overtime to everyone on your staff- including office managers and hygienists, regardless of whether they are paid per hour or a salary- when they work more than 40 hours in a week?
Y / N

4. Do you maintain two types of personnel files for each employee- one "regular" file and one "confidential" file?
Y / N

5. Do you maintain accurate and current information (documentation) that legally must be included in each employee's personnel file?
Y / N

6. Do you have an established legal protocol to follow when an employee (or former employee or his/her attorney) asks to review their personnel file?
Y / N

7. Are you an "at will" employer and does your "at will" policy information appear in all prescribed places in your policy manual?
Y / N

8. Do you have signed, legally valid "Employment Agreements" for each of your employees?
Y / N

9. Do you follow labor law rules for paying staff for travel to and attendance at seminars, lectures, or workshops?
Y / N

10. During the hiring process, do you know the precautions to take to prevent possible charges of discriminations from applicants you did not hire?
Y / N

11. Do you check references before you hire a new staff member to prevent being sue for "negligent hiring"?
Y / N

12. When giving or checking references, do you know how you can legally give or receive information about an employee's job performance without fear of legal ramifications (including the real reason for the employee's discharge, ie. Excessive absenteeism, unsatisfactory performance, etc)?
Y / N

13. Do you know the labor law requirements for each different type of leave of absence ie pregnancy, personal, family, work-related injury, jury duty, military, etc?
Y / N

14. Does your pregnant employee policy include a "Health Hazards During Pregnancy Release Letter"?
Y / N

15. Do you know the process you are required to follow to protect against claims of sexual harassment?
Y / N

16. Do you know the procedure to follow if a pregnant employee says she cannot or will not take x-rays?
Y / N

17. Do you have a labor attorney or employment specialist review all terminations before they become final?
Y / N

18. Do you have written job descriptions for each position and do they comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations?
Y / N

19. (California only) You have chosen to use an "Alternative Work Schedule" to prevent having to pay costly overtime. Did you install it using the required 7-step process?
Y / N

20. When purchasing a practice and existing staff automatically continues with the new owner, can the new owner be penalized for any labor violations during the previous owner's "watch"?
Y / N

How did you do? The correct answer to each question is a YES answer. A NO answer to any question indicates an area where the practice is not in compliance with the Federal and State regulations. This can be a costly mistake. To learn more about how your business can be in complete compliance, contact Pathways today at (509) 750-6603.