Small Business HR: Yes There Are A Lot of Laws You Must Comply With

I help small businesses on a daily basis deal with human resources issues. I also teach the fundamentals of human resources to classes that often include small business managers. Both my clients and my students are often shocked and many are dismayed at the number of laws that they have to comply with to be able to run their businesses “legally.” They then have a somewhat improved opinion on why you need to have some help, either in-house HR or outside consulting, to navigate through these laws. I like to use the analogy that the government is a glacier that periodically drops iceburgs into the business ocean. To keep from sinking your ship of business (or at least tearing a hole in the hull) it helps to have a good pilot/navigator to steer you through.
Well to help you navigate I am going to provide you with a “map” of these icebergs, aka laws, by company size. This list does not include state laws. So here you go:
1-14 Employees
TitleVII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: (for employment agencies and labor organizations). See 15-19 for other employers.
Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968
Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 (if company offers benefits)
EqualPay Act of 1963
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT)
Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1969
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (There is also a revenue and interstate commerce clause)
Federal Insurance Contributions Act of 1935 (FICA) (Social Security)
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 (if company offers benefits)
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
National Labor Relations Act of 1947
Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act of 1996 (for companies offering healthcare benefits)
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures of 1978
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994

For 11-14 employees, add
OSHA Recordkeeping (maintain record of job related injuries and illnesses)
For 15-19 employees, add
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1991
Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (an amendment to Title VII)
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

For 20-49 employees, add
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Consolidated Omnibus Benefits Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986

For 50 or more employees, add

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
EEO-1 Report filed annually w/EEOC if organization is a federal contractor
Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (for employers who offer mental health benefits)

100 or more, add

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988
EEO-1 Report filed annually w/EEOC if organization is not a federal contractor

Federal Contractors, add

Executive Order 11246 of 1965
Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988
Vietnam-Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974
Davis Bacon Act of 1931
Copeland Act of 1934
Walsh-Healy Act of 1936
Service Contract Act (1965)
Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA)
As you can see “small business” does not really get a break from regulation at all, unlessĀ  you are very small and even then you still have a long list of compliance issues.

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