Your Business is at Significant Financial Risk if you can’t answer “YES” to every question

January 22, 2018 Business-HR Strategy Compliance 0

Do you know about all of the employment laws to which your business is accountable? Check out this “Quick HR Audit” to learn if your business is exposed to fines, large settlements, loss of business due to disastrous public image, and even jail time: Ignorance is NOT a legal defense.

  • Are your pre-hire steps compliant with the law?

Violation of EEOC laws could lead to punitive damages payable for intentional discrimination, attorney’s fees, compensatory damages and more.

  • Have you conducted discrimination and harassment training of your managers?
  • Do you have a process to manage employee complaints, discipline, and terminations designed to keep you out of court?
  • Do you know how to protect yourself from employee abuse of social media?
  • Have you conducted respectful workplace communications training for all of your employees?

Many wrongful termination lawsuits are settled out of court for an average of $40,000.  Defending a case through discovery and a ruling on a motion for summary judgment can cost you between $75,000 and $125,000.  Then, if you lose summary judgment, you can expect to spend $175,000 to $250,000 to take the case to a jury verdict at trial.  THIS is just the cost to defend; NOT the settlement amount.

  • Are you certain you have properly classified employees as exempt so that no overtime payments are required?

Back wages, taxes, penalties, interest and attorney’s fees are at risk if you incorrectly classify employees as exempt (“salaried”) when they should be non-exempt (“hourly”). Personal bankers for a large banking institution obtained a $22 million settlement and claims adjusters at a large insurance company were awarded more than $90 million in a misclassification lawsuit. 

  • Are your Labor Law Postings and Employee Handbook up to date with 2018 regulations?

Failure to post updated state and federal employment law notices can result in fines up to $33,486. Employee Handbooks are not required by law but are a recommended to maintain compliance with local, state and Federal notice requirements.  A comprehensive handbook defines expectations for the employment relationship and helps to mitigate risk when Company practices and policies are questioned. 

  • Are you getting the most out of your HR/Payroll technology solutions?

Effective technology solutions can support compliance, reduce administration costs, and allow key employees to focus on the business and not the minutia.

  • Can you successfully complete a Form I-9 inspection by ICE?

Employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees. You may receive a monetary fine for all substantive and uncorrected technical violations. If it is determined you have knowingly hired or continue to employ unauthorized workers, you will be required to cease the unlawful activity, may be fined, and in certain situations may be criminally prosecuted.  The range of fines for a first violation of I-9 non-compliance can range from $216 to $2156 per form.  Hartman Studios was recently hit with a fine in excess of $600,000.    

  • Are you certain that any independent contractors are properly classified?

An estimated 3.4 million employees are classified as independent contractors when they should be reported as employees.  If the misclassification was unintentional, you could face penalties, fines and back wages; $50 for each form W-2 you failed to file, interest and fines on FICA and Income taxes you failed to withhold and more!

  • Are you managing Workplace Safety and compliant with OSHA?

Fines for failure to provide training and maintain documentation, or initial and repeat safety violations can lead to thousands of dollars in fines and risk of business shut-down. 

Do you know about all of the employment laws to which your business is accountable? Again, Ignorance is NOT a legal defense.  The good news is with effective planning, implementation and execution, you can quickly mitigate your exposure to financial risk.

Propel HR Solutions has the experience and team to make it happen and to keep you protected.  Our flexibility allows us to fit your needs whether it be project-based or on-going retention and proactive HR Support.  Contact me directly for your complimentary HR Assessment.  PEOPLE. PURPOSE. PERFORMANCE.

Tracy Gniewek, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

HR Strategist


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