Employment Laws Every Manager Should Know: Part 2

This is the second of a two-part series dealing with federal employment laws. It is critical that employers comply with these regulations to provide fair treatment to employees and to avoid costly penalties in the event of non-compliance. Here is a list of five additional federal employment laws with which employers must comply:

Military Leave

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) makes it illegal to discriminate against applicants or employees who volunteer or are called to military duty. When reservists return from active duty tours of less than five years, you must reemploy them to the job they would have had, had it not been for the military leave of absence.

Action: Do not challenge a returning employee's bid to get his job back following military leave. There are very limited circumstances when reemployment may be denied. Courts typically side with employees in USERRA disputes.

Gender Pay Differences

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) says the employers cannot pay female employees less than male employees for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility.

Action: Review your pay scales to identify possible equal-pay disparities. Different pay for the same job title is fine as long as you can point to varying levels of responsibility, duties, skill requirements, or educational requirements.

Workplace Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to operate a business free from recognized hazards.

Action: Provide a safe work environment for your staff and point out any noticeable hazards and safety problems. Develop a safety program and a hazard communications program; comply with OSHA reporting requirements.

Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits job discrimination on the basis of "pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions." You cannot deny a job or promotion merely because an employee is pregnant. She cannot be fired for her condition or be forced to go on leave if she is able to perform her assigned job.

Action: Treat pregnant employees the same as other employees on the basis of their ability or inability to work. For example, if you provide light duty work for an employee who cannot lift boxes because of a bad back, you must make similar arrangements for a pregnant employee.

Immigration

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) makes it illegal to hire and employ illegal aliens. Employers must verify identification and eligibility to work in the U. S. for all hires by completing the Form I-9.

Action: Managers should note that it is still illegal to discriminate against illegal aliens — via harassment or subminimum pay � even if the illegal immigrant is hired inadvertently.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues, including compliance with federal and state employment laws. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .