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Small Businesses, Less than 20

In today’s complex business landscape, small business owners face numerous challenges when it comes to navigating legal requirements. Among these challenges, understanding and complying with employment law is of paramount importance. Employment law encompasses a broad range of regulations and statues that govern the relationship between employers and employees, ensuring fair treatment, workplace safety and to adhere to labor standards. Labor Laws are protections and safeguards to help ensure employees are safe and protected in the workplace. Failure to follow labor laws can result in financial penalties and lawsuits. Aiming to provide small businesses with a comprehensive understanding of labor and employment law highlighting its significance in managing a successful and legally compliant enterprise. Following and keeping apprised of all federal and state labor laws and regulations is integral to running a business. For small businesses without in-house human resource professionals and legal counsel, this can be a difficult task. However, a lack of resources is not a valid excuse for breaking the law. It is critical to stay on top of these issues, as labor and employment laws and regulations are among the easiest to violate.[1]

Federal and state laws are crucial to maintain a fair and productive work environment, it is imperative for small business owners to be well-versed. We will cover key topics, such as Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964, Fair Labor Standards Act, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Equal Pay Act and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. By familiarizing small business owners with these legal requirements, we can ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and foster positive employee relations. This paper will shed light on the critical information that can empower small business owners to safeguard their business from legal consequences. Employment law not only ensures fair treatment for employees but also provides a framework for businesses to operate with ethical and legal boundaries. For this paper, a small business will refer to those companies with 15 or less employees.

Some companies think it is okay to overlook human resources, especially in small and mid-sized firms. There are managers who think they can deal with employee issues themselves. HR Departments are disappearing, particularly among companies with flat management structures that want to encourage more accountability among their employees.[2] The proliferation of easy-to-use payroll and benefits software, it now seems easier than ever to outsource HR duties and let managers handle the rest of an HR department's duties. This can be dangerous without a proper HR department; things can go wrong enough to seriously disrupt your business. Companies without formal HR departments rely on their management teams to establish workplace norms, oversee hiring and promotions, and ensure ethical behavior. But if management goes off the rails and there is no HR department that can (or is willing to) step in, the entire company can suffer.

There are challenges beyond sexual harassment claims, compensation issues, and improper (or nonexistent) performance reviews, even companies working in the HR field aren’t immune to HR problems. In industries like construction, engineering, and manufacturing, safety and accreditation training are key to a company’s success. A robust HR department will steer your business clear of liability issues like these by ensuring all employees are properly accredited and prepared for their roles.

[1] Nicole Fallon, 7 Labor Laws You Might Be Breaking, (2023) [2] Chris Lennon, My Small Business Doesn’t Have an HR Department-Is That OK?, (2023)

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