My WordPress

Understanding HR Laws and Policies

hr laws and policies

HR professionals frequently have to make quick, difficult decisions with potentially devastating legal repercussions, so it is crucial that they learn how to reduce the risks associated with making snap decisions that might go awry.

Compliance must be the driving force of every company decision in order to avoid penalties, civil action and damage to reputation.

Employment Classifications

Employment classifications determine how a business must pay, provide benefits and withhold taxes from its workers. Knowing and understanding different employee classifications along with related laws and regulations are crucial components to managing any successful business; misclassification can result in fines and legal ramifications for your operation.

Employers typically classify employees into full-time, part-time and temporary employee categories; it is typically up to employers themselves to define these categories; however, under FLSA there are guidelines which outline which workers are exempt or nonexempt depending on job duties performed, minimum salary requirements and eligibility for overtime pay.

Independent contractors are an essential element of your workforce, hired on contract to perform specific tasks but without legal rights similar to employees. Your employee classification policy must outline how independent contractors differ from employees so your team stays compliant and support remote workers appropriately; setting expectations as to how remote workers collaborate with their supervisors and coworkers using tools like video meetings or project management platforms is also key here.

Time Off Policies

How often and for how many reasons an employee can take time off for vacation, sickness or personal reasons depends on an organization’s time off policy. While some firms provide an annual allocation of PTO for employees to use as they please, others allow employees to accrue hours based on their regular wage rate or work schedule.

Employers may also establish an unlimited PTO policy that allows eligible employees to take any amount of vacation, sick and personal days they wish without having to cash out any unused hours at year’s end. This approach reduces administrative costs by eliminating HR’s need to track time off by type or date.

Some companies also offer PTO donation plans that enable eligible employees to give some of their unused PTO time off as donations to coworkers who need care for children or pets, have been affected by natural disasters or require care themselves. It’s essential that clearly defined policies exist, while complying with federal and state laws related to discrimination on the basis of age, gender, religion, sex or national origin.

Discipline Policies

Disciplinary policies outline the ways school officials will punish students who engage in specific forms of misbehavior or performance issues. Such policies often specify unacceptable behavior examples, a system for escalated discipline should problems persist and documentation requirements. Schools commonly adopt such policies in order to comply with federal antidiscrimination laws and ensure students’ rights are respected.

HR management must ensure employee disciplinary procedures adhere to local and state laws as well as company-specific policies, or they could face fines, penalties or even legal proceedings for failing to do so.

Any action by a staff member which violates university mission, operations, or policy could warrant discipline. Investigation must first take place by both department and HR Consultant to ascertain appropriate action to take against such employees. Depending upon individual situations and circumstances surrounding each staff employee, appropriate punishment will vary, though similar offenses should receive approximately equivalent treatment. This does not alter the at-will nature of employment for USC staff employees except when these procedures conflict with collective bargaining agreements.

Reasonable Accommodation Policies

Reasonable accommodations refer to modifications or adjustments made to an employment application process, work environment or the way a task is carried out that permit individuals with disabilities who meet basic qualifications for the position to enjoy equal employment opportunities and perform essential functions of their position with greater ease. An accommodation is considered reasonable when it removes barriers to performance caused by disability without creating undue hardship for employers.

At any point during the hiring process or employment relationship, an individual may request an accommodation. It is usually best practice to submit such requests in writing to ensure they are understood and documented accordingly.

HR and the employee should work collaboratively to identify available and feasible accommodations, taking into account cost and impact on other employees. HR may help by providing an ADA Accommodation Form which should be filled out by both individual and healthcare provider in order to provide HR with medical documentation regarding whether the individual qualifies as having a disability as defined under ADA regulations.

Performance Management

HR managers must stay abreast of legal changes and create internal guidelines that meet those requirements, adapting and revising these as required on an ongoing basis.

HR policies serve to bring structure and consistency to the workplace, by setting standards that employees must abide by, providing guidelines for employee disciplinary actions, and outlining how issues will be resolved in the office.

If an employee fails to meet performance expectations set by their supervisor, their manager may create a Personal Improvement Plan (PIP), monitor their progress, reassign them to another position or take more serious disciplinary actions based on their individual performance, previous performance history and any misconduct committed. This decision depends on each employee’s previous history and nature of misconduct.

PIPs and other performance management processes also ensure that an employee’s work is being assessed according to current best practices and laws, helping companies avoid staff turnover that erodes productivity. A well-developed PIP can lead to improved communication with employees, greater job satisfaction and increased overall business success.

Scroll to Top