Employment Law Compliance is a dynamic management task. Federal legislation is written, followed by state and local legislative laws or acts, which lay out guidelines and enforcement action. These laws and acts can become obsolete and require modification due to the changing nature of our workforce.

Employment Law Compliance

employment law complianceThirty-five years ago, the workforce was more homogenous that it is today. First, as an example of evolutionary laws, there was non-discrimination employment law/legislation to protect race. Since then the law has been expanded to incorporate, age, female employees, homosexual employees, etc. just to name a few. And, as the demographics of the potential hiring pool changes and norms in society change, we can look forward to additional new labor laws and legislation to protect employees and companies alike.

To facilitate our discussion we will present Federal Labor Laws that must be complied with in the small to mid-size business. Following this paragraph is a chart of Federal Labor Laws and a list of required records/reports. Every individual company is responsible to know the laws and to what extent any law might apply to them for their operation, so they can achieve employment law compliance.

Federal Labor Laws

The following chart lists United States Federal labor laws that apply from the smallest group of employees to larger organizations. Most of the laws listed apply to all companies. Additional employment law compliance is required at 15, 20, 50, and 100 employees and for companies servicing Federal contracts. The alphabetical listing itself has no bearing as to the frequency of use or importance of the law.

Federal Acts Number of Employees
1-14 15-19 20-49 50-100 100+
Civil Rights Act of 1964 X X X X X
Civil Rights Act of 1991 X X X X X
Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968 X X X X X
Employee Free Choice Act X X X X X
Employee Polygraph Protection Act (1988) X X X X X
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974[1] X X X X X
Equal Pay Act of 1963 X X X X X
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1970 X X X X X
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 X X X X X
Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) of 1935 X X X X X
Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)[2] X X X X X
Immigration Control and Reform Act (IRCA) of 1986 X X X X X
Immigration and Nationality Act X X X X X
Labor-Management Reporting & Disclosure (Landrum-Griffin) Act X X X X X
National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 X X X X X
Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) of 1970 X[3] X X X X
Social Security Act X X X X X
Taft-Hartley Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 X X X X X
Uniform Guidelines for Employee Selection Procedures (1978) X X X X X
Uniform Services Employment & Re-employment Rights Act (1994) X X X X X
Title I, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 X X X X
Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964 X X X X
Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1991 X X X X
Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 X X X
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) 1985 X X X
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 X X
EEO-1 Report: All “for profit” Companies must file with the EEOC X
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) of 1989 X
FC – Federal Contractors must also include
EEO-1: Must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if your Company is a Federal contractor. FC FC
Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 FC FC FC FC FC
Davis Bacon Act of 1931 FC FC FC FC FC
Executive Order 11246 (1965) FC FC FC FC FC
Service Contract Act of 1965 FC FC FC FC FC
Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974 FC FC FC FC FC
Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 FC FC FC FC FC
Walsh-Healy Act of 1936 FC FC FC FC FC

Posting Requirements

Federal laws require that employers post certain notices in the workplace where all employees can view them. If a company has more than fifty (50) employees, the employer must post information concerning:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA);
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967;
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • The Employee Polygraph Protection Act;
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (Current Minimum Wage);
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993; and
    • Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) of 1970.

A company with fewer than fifty (50) employees is not required to comply with FMLA and, therefore, need not post related information.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can provide posters containing the above listed information. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) makes many Federal labor posters. State labor law posting requirements may vary; see the particular state’s Labor department for more information.

Legislation Briefs

The following provides a brief description of some of the various acts relating to HR. A more complete discussion of Federal compliance is included in the “Managers Manual”, found under the “300 Managers Manual” tab.

Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914)

Narrowed the availability of injunctions against labor organizations in cases involving employer and employees. Allowed injunctions only if it is necessary to prevent irreparable harm to property and no adequate legal remedy exist.

Norris-LaGuardia Act (1931)

First general legislation specifically designed to strengthen unions in dealing with management. Prohibited “yellow day” contracts (agreements required by employers of prospective employees, by which the employee agreed not to join a labor union).

National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) (1935)

Congressional effort to equalize the disparity in bargaining power between employers and employees; gives covered employees the right to organize and bargain collectively. Created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Fair Labor Standards Act (1938)

Known as the Wage and Hour Law. Regulates hours and wages of employees. FLSA prohibits oppressive child labor. Payment of overtime after 40 hours worked in one workweek and minimum wage is included under this law.

Executive Order 8802 (F.D. Roosevelt, 1941)

First federal action to deal with persistent and pervasive discrimination in employment against minorities and women. Defense contractors were forbidden to discriminate in employment on basis of race, creed, color, or national origin. Lacked Congressional support and was not vigorously enforced.

Taft-Hartley Act (Labor Management Relations Act 1947)

Amended National Labor Relations Act. Covers all employees whose business affects interstate commerce.

Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin Act (1959)

Further amended the NLRA; established a “bill of rights” for union members and required reports from union to the Secretary of Labor.

Executive Order 10925 (Kennedy, 1961)

Required all agencies of the federal government to include a nondiscrimination clause in their contracts.

Equal Pay Act (1963)

Requires that women be paid the same rates as men for equal work on jobs where the performance requires equal skill, effort and has the same level of responsibility.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Employers with 15 or more employees are covered. Provisions enforced through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Executive Order 11246 (L.B. Johnson, 1965)

Requires government contractors take affirmative action to insure that employees are hired and promoted on a non-discriminatory basis.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

Prohibits covered employers from refusing to hire, discharging or otherwise discriminating against persons 40 through 70 years of age. Since amended to include all persons over age 40 with no age ceiling.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (1968)

Imposes a general duty on employers to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards (physical, chemical, biological, etc.) that may cause death or serious physical harm.

Amendments to Title VII of Civil Rights Act (1972)

Prohibits discrimination in employment of basis or sex, as well as, discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, or national origin. Applies to all employers whose activities affect interstate commerce and who employ 25 people or more.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Requires employers with federal contract exceeding $2500 to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified handicapped individuals. Employers having federal contracts over $50,000 must develop and maintain written affirmative action programs.

Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustments Act (1974)

Requires federal contractors to promote employment opportunities for qualified disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era.

Privacy Act of 1974

Protects individuals against the unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable information by any agency of the federal government.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)

Covers employee welfare plans providing medical, sickness, death, vacation and other fringe benefits that may include pension and other welfare plans. Does not require employers to establish or fund benefit plans. Established standards that existing and new plans must meet.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Established opportunity for the naturalization of specified groups of aliens already living/working in the United States. Placed responsibility on employer to document and provide proof of employees’ right to work.

Federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988

Prohibits employer’s use of polygraph as pre-employment screening tool. Limited use for banking in some cases of security violations after employment status is achieved.

Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988

Requires Federal contractors and grantees to maintain a drug-free workplace.

Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

Establishes protection of employment for disabled workers. Took effect for employers with 25 or more workers on July 26, 1992, and employers with 15 or more workers on July 26, 1994.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)

Guarantees workers up to 12 weeks a year off, unpaid, for births, adoptions or the care of sick children, spouses, or parents.

And Elsewhere…

Council Directive 2000/78/EC

The subtitle of this legislation is “establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation”. The Member States of the European Union (EU) ban discrimination in the field of employment and occupation. However, the scope of this prohibition, its content, and its enforceability vary from country to country; hence, this Directive is designed to lay down a general minimum framework for anti-discrimination.

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We’ve just scratched the surface of employment law compliance. There are many, many more laws around the globe that we haven’t discussed. Obviously, complying with labor laws and employment-related issues is a dynamic and multifaceted management task — a task made considerably easier by the Bizmanualz Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual.


[1] ERISA applies only to companies that provide savings plan benefits (e.g., 401k) to their employees.

[2] HIPAA applies only to companies providing employees with health care benefits (e.g., insurance).

[3] Companies with 11-14 employees must maintain a record of illnesses and job related injuries under OSHA.