Following state and federal employment laws may rapidly become confusing. Regardless of how tiny your company is, you must ensure that you are in compliance with employment requirements. Otherwise, you risk incurring significant fines and penalties. Here are five expensive errors that businesses often make when it comes to employment law, as well as tips on how to prevent them.
1. Incomplete and missing I-9 forms
The I-9 Work Eligibility Verification Form checks employee identification and determines whether or not they are qualified for employment in the United States.
Problem: According to employment legislation, the 1-9 form must be submitted within three days of an employee’s start date. Missing the deadline or submitting an incomplete form leads in steep penalties.
Forms must be filled out with the correct dates and signatures.
Forms must be accompanied by the appropriate supporting identity papers. New recruits may present any paperwork considered appropriate from a government list; companies are not permitted to restrict which papers are acceptable.
I-9 forms must be destroyed three years from the employee’s start date or one year after the employee’s departure date, whichever comes first.
As part of the onboarding process, have all employees complete the I-9 form. Implement a paperless system to save time on document printing and scanning,
2. Out-of-date W-4 Forms
The IRS Form W-4 specifies the amount of tax withholding that employers will deduct from an employee’s salary. Employees must fill out this form after being employed and before receiving their first salary. The IRS has an online calculator for calculating withholding allowances.
Problem: To remain in compliance with employment law, employers must keep up-to-date W-4 forms that indicate recent changes in an employee’s personal status (e.g., marriage, children, divorce).
While employment law enables workers to change their W-4 forms at any time, it is best practise to require employees to resubmit their W-4 forms each year.
3. Inadequate Employment Application Forms
A job application form is the paperwork that potential workers must fill out in order to be considered for a post. It is the primary source of information on prospective workers for the company. Specific inquiries and notifications are required by state and federal employment law to be included on the job application form. These include concerns about criminal background checks, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) processes, and notifications of at-will employment.
Problem: If businesses do not comply with all job application rules, they may face liability claims and noncompliance fines.
Advice: Make certain that you and your legal team are up to speed on job application employment legislation. Accurate job descriptions are essential for adhering to rules. Lavoie suggests that present workers perform the job and that all relevant supervisors complete surveys in order to accurately describe job expectations and duties. Any physical requirements should be included.
4. Failure to Provide Harassment Prevention Education
Employers are protected from a variety of kinds of workplace harassment under state and federal law. Many states mandate firms to give workers with harassment prevention training.
Problem: Employees mirror their supervisors’ actions. Without the proper harassment prevention training, leadership may be allowing or participating in harassment-related behaviour that breaches anti-harassment regulations. Employees ought to be handled with dignity and professionalism.
Advice: Even if your state does not require workplace harassment prevention training, it is a good idea to include it as part of your onboarding process, according to TriNet, an employment law consulting firm. Good training may go a long way toward fostering a friendly business culture. Conduct training as required, and ensure that all training is carefully recorded in conformity with all applicable employment laws and regulations.
5. Misclassification of Employee Status
According to TriNet, the most prevalent employer problem is appropriately identifying workers as exempt or nonexempt as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA offers various safeguards based on an employee’s classification, such as an accurate record of all hours worked and overtime compensation. The US Department of Labor also looks to an employee’s categorization to assess if work activities and pay are in accordance with all employment law rules.