In honor of the SBA’s National Small Business Week (May 1-7), we
wanted to feature some basic legal advice for
startups, which by their nature, are “small businesses” for now.
As a small business owner, you will soon learn that employment is and always
will be a key factor in your pursuit for business success.
Most business owners will quickly attest that good employees are the lifeblood
of a company, and unfortunately, your relationship with them can become
toxic if you are not careful about how you conduct your business.
With worker discrimination laws becoming more prevalent than ever before,
small business owners need to be aware of the laws enforced by the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If you are not already familiar with the following laws, it would be in
your best interests to begin researching them in the near future:
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
- Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
- Civil Rights Act of 1991 (Sections 102 and 103)
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 501 and 505)
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GNA)
If you recently got your new company off the ground, there is a strong
possibility that you do not have a human resources department yet. That
being said, you want to ensure that you, your managers, and your new hires
are aware of the laws about discrimination and wrongful termination (for
Protect Your Startup’s Reputation
With the Internet, Google searches and social media, your startup’s
reputation can be tarnished in a matter of days. If someone accuses you
of discrimination, it can be a blow to employee and customer confidence
and it can lead to a costly lawsuit that your small business simply cannot afford.
We recommend familiarizing yourself with the
EEOC’s website, and reading through the various types of discrimination. As a small business
owner, it comes down to understanding the laws, ensuring that your staff
understands them, and adopting an anti-discrimination policy.
Know the Wage Laws
You must educate yourself on the local, state, and federal wage laws. Proper
research will help you understand the laws regarding internships; hiring
handicap workers, family members, and underage workers; and vacation pay,
Also pay attention to minimum wage increases and how these updated laws
impact your business and your employees’ wages.
From hiring and firing to asking your employees to work overtime, business
ownership is filled with legal hazards. To ensure that you are protecting
contact a Chicago business law attorney from Rifkind Patrick LLC today.