EPLI Risk-Management Survival Guide
Top 10 steps to take for federal & state compliance in 2012
BY GERALD L. MAATMAN JR.
EMPLOYERS INHABIT a com- plex environment when it comes to human-resources
statutes. Federal, state and local
laws and regulations are in a constant state of evolution.
Complying with this patchwork
quilt of workplace obligations is
a daunting challenge for an
and human-resources professionals,
corporate counsel and executives.
But like death and taxes,
these risks of doing business
are inevitable—and the costs of
noncompliance are increasing.
With the turn of the calendar,
and in keeping with the tradition
of New Year’s resolutions, here is a
list of 10 “to-do” items that ought
to be on any HR/risk-manager’s
compliance checklist for 2012.
1Keep track of government enforcement
The two main enforcement arms of the
federal government relevant to private
employers are the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the
Department of Labor (DOL). On the state
level, virtually every state has similar
agencies. Knowing how these agencies
enforce the law under their mandates is
crucial for corporate-compliance efforts.
The EEOC and DOL have extensive Web
sites ( www.eeoc.gov and www.dol.gov) that
detail their activities. HR professionals, risk
managers, corporate counsel and business
executives in charge of compliance efforts
should bookmark these sites and visit
them frequently. They contain a treasure
trove of information for employers.
2 Audit your personnel policies for compliance
with new EEOC-related regulations.
Especially on a state and local basis,
laws creating protections for employees
typically have a Jan. 1 effective date.
It’s always best to check the legislative
enactments for every jurisdiction in which
the company employs workers.
Relevant EEOC policies and practices
should be updated for these new
3 Account for leave-of-absence entitlements
created by new laws at the state and local
‘HIGHER RISK’ STATES
Higher risk jurisdictions with an active
class-action bar and generous state-law systems include California, Illinois,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York,
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Likewise, state and local governments
have become aggressive in expanding
the rights for mandatory leave-of-absence
entitlements for workers. The coverage
trip wires tend to vary by jurisdiction,
such as companies with 50 or more full-time employees vs. one employee.
Like EEOC laws, many leave-of-absence
entitlements kick in at different dates
during the calendar year.