It is a myth that there is a protected group of employees. In reality, every employee is covered by laws intended to stop abuses done by employers. Because employers do not take in consideration what is needed before posting the job, companies end up in situations where employment law is violated.
It is up to the Human resources Department to make sure they are meeting all of the regulations before posting a job advertisement.
Here are some common questions that are asked about employment laws pertaining to protected groups:
- “At will”
- Unfair labor practices
- Persons with disabilities
- Equal opportunity settlements
- Intent of affirmative action
Individuals that are part of a protected group are going to be able to get resources to fight against unfair labor practices. Human resources should be on the ball to be able to be informed of employment law and make sure companies are in compliance.
What does At Will Mean?
Employment “At Will” means that a person can be terminated “for any reason” “at any time”. If you are not employed at will, there will be a separate working contract spelling out how long your job security lasts (1 year or more).
There are illegal reasons that people are terminated regardless of “at will”:
- Unfair labor practices
- Violation of ADA
- In the middle of EEOC mediation
- Violation of affirmative action
What is Unfair Labor Practices?
Unfair labor practices could be renamed “unfair management practices”. Before an employee works for an employer, there are a set of rules regarding pay, hours, breaks, safety, security, and more.
When managers break these rules for their benefit, they might commit a series of unfair labor practices. Each of these infractions can end up being a mess to sort out in federal court.
The best thing HR can do is to avoid unfair practice issues in the first place.
What does the name ADA mean?
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was put into place to provide safety and accessibility to people who are in wheel chairs or otherwise disabled.
Before hiring a person with disabilities, make sure that you have the correct dimensions in order to avoid future lawsuits.
These include and are not limited to:
- specialized toilet dimensions and handrails
- countertop height
- dishwasher height
- doorway dimensions
- alternative to stairs
- specialized parking
Because of all of the disability laws, a lot of small businesses cannot afford these changes. That is why more small businesses are moving into shared office spaces to spread the cost of each of these requirements across all who use it.
What is a Typical Settlement in an EEOC Mediation?
There is no fee to do a mediation through the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Often, this is a good choice form employers who are accused of violating an EEOC mandate.
A lot of time, the non-compliance is a misunderstanding of current employment laws.
Mediation rarely involves monetary payments. The best option may be to return the employee to their position and continue with compliance for the rest of workers.
Sometimes, the employee is not in a position to return. The EEOC may require the employee to inform workers of the EEOC rights (like Affirmative Action).
The typical rate of settlement is just over 70%.
What Impact was Affirmative Action designed to Have?
Affirmative Action was put into place to help disadvantaged groups get into jobs and colleges. The EEOC established quotas to mandate a specific percentage of women, minorities and war veterans be allowed entry.
This was put into place to end the hands on process of desegregation city by city and state by state.
A Group of Employees May Have Specialized Laws
Human Resources needs to be able to make sure that the company is not in violation of labor laws. This should be a group effort between management, the legal department, the financial department and maintenance as well as HR. Hiring employees is a very important job – maintaining compliance is the duty of HR.
A simple thing like a manager not understanding the new labor laws on overtime causes an employee to be under paid according to their time clock stamp. (You can try Time Clock Wizard for free to maintain time stamp compliance.)
Human resources may act as if on the side of management causing the employee to seek a lawyer. This is not a good situation for the company. It is better to learn, follow and educate management of their proper roles.
Which group of employees is the hardest to maintain compliance for?