HR Laws Apply to Small Employers


HR Laws Apply to Small Employers Too


If you have less than 50 employees, your company is still covered by many federal employment laws. Here’s a list of those that apply to even the smallest employers.

If you have less than 50 employees you are NOT exempt from the federal regulatory compliance laws. If you have less than 50 employees the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not apply to your company, but many federal employment laws apply regardless of the number of employees you have or apply if you have as few as 15 employees. The following is a list summarizing the most common laws that apply to employers that have less than 50 employees.


Remember that the ComplyAbility system will train, test and record comprehension of these laws by your employees, thus erecting a “brick wall” in the face of potential liability and a catastrophic loss.


* No Employee Size Specified *

Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA): The EPPA prohibits employers from requiring employees or applicants to take polygraph exams, limits when the exams may be used, and provides significant protections to individuals who take them. It applies to all employers that request polygraph examinations and are engaged in or affect commerce.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA): ERISA requires covered employers to disclose information regarding your benefits plans, including summary plan descriptions, summaries of annual reports, statements of accrued benefits, and, upon request, copies of the plan descriptions, annual reports, and any terminal reports. The law does not specify a number of employees for coverage and instead applies to certain “welfare plans” and employee pension plans established or maintained by an employer engaged in commerce, or in any industry or activity affecting commerce.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): The FCRA applies to any employer that uses outside agencies to perform credit or other background checks (including criminal, reference, or driving record checks). It requires you to comply with comprehensive notice, consent, and disclosure obligations both prior to doing the checks and after the results of the checks are reported. Amendments to the FCRA also require you to properly dispose of any consumer report information and records gathered by a third party.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Equal Pay Act (EPA): The FLSA requires covered employers to pay the minimum wage (currently $7.25 an hour) and overtime to nonexempt employees, and the EPA prohibits wage discrimination based on gender. The FLSA’s and EPA’s requirements generally apply if your organization is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce and to employers that meet the “enterprise coverage test.” An enterprise meets this test if: (1) it does an annual business of $500,000 or more; and (2) two or more employees of the enterprise are engaged in interstate commerce, in the production of goods for interstate commerce, or in operations or processes related and essential to the production of those goods.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA protects the privacy of certain consumer personal health information and includes insurance portability provisions for employees who leave or lose their jobs. The law applies to “covered entities,” including group health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. Even if your organization does not fit into these categories, you still may be covered in your role as group health plan provider.

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA): The IRCA requires every employer to verify employees’ eligibility to work in the United States using the Form I-9 and prohibits national origin discrimination by employers with 4 or more employees.

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA): The NLRA allows employees to form unions and to engage in concerted activities involving their terms and conditions of employment. The NLRA applies to employers in all industries affecting commerce, and its requirements apply even if your employees do not have union representation.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act): The OSH Act sets workplace health and safety standards for many industries and requires most businesses, at a minimum, to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. The Act applies to employers in any business affecting commerce, and therefore covers most private employers

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA): The USERRA prohibits discrimination in employment and retaliation against any person who is or applies to be a member of a “uniformed service,” or who performs or has an obligation to perform service in a “uniformed service.” In addition, it requires you to provide military leave to employees and guarantee job reinstatement for up to five years. The law applies to all employers regardless of size.

Executive Order 11246: This executive order prohibits employers with a federal contract of $10,000 or more from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. No minimum number of employees is required.

Rehabilitation Act: The Rehabilitation Act requires employers with federal government contracts or subcontracts valued in excess of $10,000 per year to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified, disabled individuals and prohibits discrimination against them. In addition, covered employers must provide reasonable accommodation to disabled individuals. No minimum number of employees is required.

Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA): The VEVRAA requires employers that have a federal contract of $100,000 or more to include in the contract a provision requiring them to take affirmative action to employ and promote certain qualified veterans. No minimum number of employees is required.

* Employers with 15 or More Employees *

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA prohibits covered employers from discriminating against disabled applicants and employees and requires you to provide disabled individuals with reasonable accommodation.

– The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA): The GINA prohibits covered employers from refusing to hire an applicant, or from discriminating against any employee, with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of “genetic information.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII): Title VII prohibits covered employers from discriminating based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

* Employers with 20 or More Employees *

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): The ADEA prohibits covered employers from discriminating against individuals who are age 40 or older.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA): COBRA requires covered employers that provide group health plans to offer “qualified beneficiaries” continuing health insurance coverage, at their expense, after certain qualifying events occur, such as the termination of employment.

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