In this video, HR professional consultant and trainer Catherine Mattice offers an overview of some of laws every human resources professional should know, including: Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Anti-Discrimination and Harassment, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- There's a variety of laws that really impact you on a regular basis as an HR professional. They are in place to ensure employees are treated fairly and with dignity at work. Before we get started, it's important for me to state that I am not and attorney and therefore I am not providing legal advice. This video is for informational purposes only and is meant to give you basic information about five laws you should be aware of if you're going to serve in the HR function. It is your responsibility to learn and understand all federal and state laws related to human resources and to implement the appropriate processes to ensure your organization is in compliance of those laws Always, always consult an employment law attorney if you are unsure about something.
The first law I want to cover is the Family Medical Leave Act or FMLA. FMLA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. Employees will need FMLA leave for instance when they have a child or adopt a child, when their spouse receives orders for an emergency deployment or if they have an immediate family member who needs medical assistance. Employees will also use FMLA when they have their own medical issues and need time off to attend doctors appointments or recover.
The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA ensures people with disabilities are treated fairly and with respect. ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accomodations for those who need them. Examples include: building a ramp over a small flight of stairs, providing a wheelchair accessible desk, or reassigning a minor job duty to another employee. The Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSHA was passed in order to encourage employers and employees to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
OSHA states that employees have the right to demand safety and health to file a complaint when something is unsafe or unhealthy and to request an investigation. As an employer, you should be proactive and advise your workforce of hazards and remove them. Also, be sure to provide training, when it's necessary. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, more commonly known simply as Title VII, prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, race, nationality, religion, age, disability or genetic information.
These are called protected classes. Be aware that many states have their own longer list of protected classes, so make sure to research your state laws. Discrimination occurs when an employer or employee treats some groups more favorably than others. An example might be giving bonuses to males because they are male, rather than because of their performance or not hiring a woman because she is pregnant. Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is condition of employment or is so severe a reasonable person would find it hostile and abusive.
Examples include: offensive jokes, mocking a person, interfering with their work performance, and physical assaults or threats. Sexual harassment is also addressed in Title VII. The law states that no one should have to submit to sexual harassment in order to stay employed or to receieve benefits and that no one should have to endure an intimidating or sexually offensive work environment. Finally, Title VII prohibits retaliation for filing a claim or participating in any sort of proceedings such as an investigation or a lawsuit.
The last law I want to discuss is the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. This is the federal law used to classify employees versus independent contractors, determine which employees are exempt from overtime and which are not and it dictates minimum wage but make sure you check your own state's laws too because they are often different than the federal law and you are generally required to use the law that provides the employee with the highest wage. Again, this is a very, very high level overview of these important laws and I insist that you learn more about them.
I have provided a list of resources in the exercise files for this course. I encourage you to download it and make sure to do your own due diligence in learning all the laws pertinent to you in HR.
HR consultant Catherine Mattice outlines some of the considerations of the human resources professional, such as balancing the needs of employees with the interests of the organization. She reveals how to conduct an HR audit to identify HR practices that need improvement. She then outlines core HR responsibilities: staffing, training, documentation, compensation and benefits, performance reviews, job descriptions, compliance with state and federal regulations, and more.
- Building trust with employees
- Conducting an HR audit
- Classifying employees
- Setting up compensation and benefits
- Creating and enforcing company policies
- Writing job descriptions
- Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees
- Managing employee performance
- Training employees
- Disciplining employees