Workplace Laws Every Employer Needs to Know

As an employer, you will have to follow a host of state and federal laws that regulate your relationship with your employees. Among the things you'll be expected to know and understand:

  • Proper hiring practices, including how to conduct interviews and investigate job applicants without invading their privacy.

  • Rules on hiring and working with independent contractors, including tips on how to avoid misclassification problems.

  • Wage and hour laws, including those governing the minimum wage, overtime, and compensatory time.

  • How to avoid harassment and discrimination based on a variety of characteristics, including gender, age, race, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, and national origin.

  • The minimum requirements for sick, vacation, parental, and other types of employee leave.

  • How to write an employee handbook, conduct performance reviews, and discipline employees. Performance Management & Employee Evaluation area.)

  • OSHA and other workplace health and safety laws, including health care reform, workers' compensation, and rules on employee alcohol and drug use.

  • How to fire an employee without trampling on his or her legal rights.

  • How to protect your business and respect employees' rights when they leave.

  • What the law allows if you want to run a background check, do a workplace search, or monitor employee conduct.

For the most complete guide to your legal rights and responsibilities as an employer, get The Employer's Legal Handbook, by Fred Steingold (Nolo). It explains how to handle every part of the employment relationship, from hiring to firing, fairly and legally.

If you want some advice from a lawyer, Nolo's Lawyer Directory can help you find a local employment lawyer.

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