Top Seven Laws Every Employer Should Know*

1.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)– In brief, Title VII bars certain employers from discriminating against employees, former employees, or applicants for employment based on race, color, national origin, religion or sex (including gender and pregnancy). Title VII also prohibits harassment and retaliation based on the same protected characteristics.

2.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)– In brief, the FLSA sets the federal minimum wage for covered, nonexempt employees and requires that such employee be paid overtime at the rate of time and a half their regular hourly rate for hours over 40 in any work week (it also prohibits child labor and requires wage and hour recordkeeping). Retaliation is prohibited under the FLSA

3.      The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)– In brief, the ADA bars certain employers from discriminating against applicants and employees in hiring, termination of employment, compensation, and job training, so long as the applicant/employee can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Retaliation also is prohibited under the ADA.

4.  The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)– In brief, the FMLA allows certain eligible employees of qualified employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave (in bulk or on an intermittent basis) to respond to certain life events such as the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a sick family member, or to attend to the employee’s own serious health condition.

5.  The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) In brief,  the ADEA makes it unlawful for qualified employers to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee age 40 or older because of  his or her age when making decisions about hiring, firing,  job promotions, compensation benefits, training and assignments. The ADEA also prohibits harassment and retaliation.

6.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)– In brief, the FCRA places some limitations on  employers’ use of employee and applicant information such as credit histories, motor vehicle records and criminal background information provided by third party consumer reporting agencies. The FCRA contains specific notice, disclosure and consent requirements employers must follow before obtaining information and taking adverse action (like deciding not to hire an applicant) based on that information.

7.  The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)– In brief, the NLRA bars employers from infringing upon workers’ rights to organize into unions, to engage in the collective bargaining process, and to take collective action, like a going on strike or attempting to discuss or ask for higher wages. The NLRA applies to most work places — even those that do not have a union in place.

* The above are some of the more “popular” Federal laws. and you must also check your state and local laws for additional obligations.