Spring: A Time of Awakening for Us in HR
by Audrey Croley Little
My remote office overlooks the backyard, and the transformation that has taken place in just a couple of months is remarkable.
Previously, the trees stood bare, with few birds in sight, the grass was a dull brown, and there were no flowers to be seen. However, now when I gaze outside, I am greeted by a stunning array of multi-colored flowers, trees in full bloom, robins gracefully soaring through the air, and rabbits joyfully playing.
Reflecting on my younger days, I used to wonder where everything disappeared to during those barren months. However, as I matured, I came to understand that they were never truly gone but rather in a state of hibernation, patiently waiting to burst forth with life once again.
Similarly, some organizations mistakenly believe that because government entities responsible for employee compliance laws aren't visibly present, they are safe from any repercussions. Oftentimes, compliance becomes a lower priority due to overwhelming busyness. Nevertheless, it is crucial for Human Resources to prioritize ensuring the company's adherence to all employment laws. As a gentle reminder, here are a few key Federal Laws: the ACA, FMLA, ADA, HIPAA, ADEA, NLRA, COBRA, OSHA, EEOC, Title VII, ERISA, USERRA, FLSA, and WARN ACT. And let's not forget that these are only a selection of the numerous Federal Laws in place. State Laws also demand attention.
HR Compliance, much like the dormant scenery outside, may seem to go into hibernation from time to time. However, it requires unwavering diligence at all times. The stakes are high, as an agency might single out your organization, or an employee could initiate contact with the responsible Federal or State agency regarding issues such as overtime discrepancies, harassment, or misclassifications. The consequences can have a profound impact on the organization's financial health. Instead of allocating resources towards expanding the business, rewarding employees, conducting research for new product lines, or enhancing benefits, millions of dollars may end up being spent on settlements and fees.
Consider the following figures: $100 million for failing to provide meal and rest breaks, $100 million for misclassifying drivers as independent contractors, $35 million for bank tellers alleging improper overtime payment, $16.5 million for resolving minimum-wage and overtime claims, $15 million for neglecting to compensate for pre-shift work, and $2.5 million for racial discrimination and harassment.
It is imperative to elevate compliance to its rightful place—at the top of the priority list.
So, is your house in order? If you're unsure, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to assist you.