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1. Certain Interview Questions & Comments

If you’re hiring new workers, you may be barred by state law from asking about an applicant’s prior salary or conviction record before making a hiring decision.

Employers must also be weary of asking questions which could violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

2. Classifying Contractors vs. Employees

The distinction between a contractor and an independent employee is a fine one and the penalties for incorrectly classifying workers could increase your liability. Employers must follow the definitions outlined by the IRS in order to comply with applicable rules.

3. Employment Verification

USCIS Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States, including citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form and adequate identification information must be reviewed.

4. Minimum Wage

While the federal government sets the floor for minimum wage, there have been minimum wage increases in a number of states and cities. Employers should note that higher rates (state or locality) control. Check the prevailing rate in your location so you can stay in compliance.

5. Worker’s Compensation

Generally, you’re required to carry workers compensation coverage for all your employees, including owners. Check with your state insurance department or carrier for any updates.

6. Overtime Requirements

Businesses are generally are required to pay “nonexempt” employees “overtime” when they exceed a 40 hour work week. An employee who is not exempt must be paid time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours in a workweek. However, the wage threshold for an executive, administrative, or professional employee is “exempt” from the overtime rule.

7. Workplace Posters

The U.S. Department of Labor and various state departments of labor require that employers prominently display required labor posters. You should sure you have complied with federal and state requirements.

8. Protecting Consumer Data

Businesses that store or uses consumers' private information need to be mindful of the increase in litigation regarding data breaches that give rise to privacy concerns.

Businesses which conduct business with the European Union (EU) must be mindful of new legislation which is in effect entitled The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679. This is an EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The legislations potential reach can mean lawsuits against companies who fail to properly safeguard EU citizens private information. Businesses should take note as the penalty is harsh - as much as €20 (about US$23 million, as of this writing) or 4 percent of your organization's annual global revenue, whichever is greater.

9. Document Retention Policies

Businesses are required by law to retain confidential contracts, client, employee, and company information for a minimal amount of time. Holding onto documents for too long places a company at risk of a security breach and non-compliance. It is highly recommended that a company develop a retention schedule that balances each record’s usefulness with the legal requirements. This schedule will depend on the type of business and the lifecycle of specific documents. Some examples of U.S. Government requirements which impose document retention policies on businesses are: IRS, OSHA, DOL, USCIS, DOT, USPTO, TSA, & FAA. States also have retentionrequirements for certain documents such as contracts, timesheets, deeds, property records, etc. After the applicable retention period is complete, a business should ensure that they are securely destroyed by a third-party information security provider.

Disclaimer: The views provided for herein are general in nature and are the author’s own. No attorney-client relationship is expressed nor shall be implied. The information provided is intended solely for the personal use of the user who accepts full responsibility for its use and is not, and should not be construed as an offer, bid or solicitation of any kind. Although precautions to ensure that the content provided is current, accurate, and timely, the information provided is “as is”. There is no representation, warranty or guarantee of any kind as to, and there shall not be responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in and accompanying this communication nor for any consequential, special or any other type of damages.

© 2019 Cecilia Guerra, Esq.

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