As we make our way through our work week that is the yellow brick road, we are sometimes startled by the issues that are thrown our way. Often times the issues with which we are faced involve grievances from employees and complaints of unfair treatment. Because we are bright, we have not fallen asleep in a random poppy field and are fully aware of what we need to do to address complaints and allegations. We investigate! And we partner with our friends in our legal and compliance departments and we research the appropriate employment laws to guide us.
Legal, Compliance and Fines – Oh My!
Employment laws outline what employers should (and shouldn’t) do throughout the employment life cycle; recruiting, hiring, professional development, promotions, terminations and everything in between.
Around the world there are employment laws governing fair and equal treatment of applicants and workers. The laws cover age, disability, ethnicity, gender, holidays, immigration, marriage, maternity, national origin, overtime, reductions in force, religion, retirement, severance, sexual orientation, terminations, union membership, vacation, wages, where people work, and much more!
Here is a short list of some of the laws:
- Labor Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China
- Employment Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China
- Employment Promotion Law of the People’s Republic of China
- Employment Rights Act of 1996
- Equality Act of 2010
- National Minimum Wage Act of 1998
- Working Time Regulations of 1998
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
As leaders in your organizations and as HR practitioners, it is critical for you to be familiar with employment laws. Why is it essential? Well, you can prevent a random flying monkey attack and you can avoid putting yourself and your company at risk. What happens to organizations that look the other way? Take a look at these examples here:
- Plaintiff obtains 30,000 Yuan in China’s first gender discrimination lawsuit
- Graduate sues local government for hukou discrimination
- Equality Tribunal affirms compensation award of €10,000 for the effects of discrimination
- Court orders Sea and Shore Safety Services LTD to pay Complainant compensation in the sum of €20,000
- Denny’s to pay $1.3 Million to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
- Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchise Pays $40,000 to Settle EEOC Religious Discrimination Lawsuit
There are several laws, acts and rulings covering just about everything that has anything to do with employment. As you can see from the examples above, violating these employment laws, regardless of where you are in the world, can cost you and your company thousands, or millions of dollars, (or Yuan or euros), in legal fees and fines. You can have all the heart, brains, and courage the Wizard has to offer, but failure to understand what it takes to ensure you and your organization are compliant can have huge implications.