An organization's human resources department is responsible for maintaining compliance with a number of labor and employment issues, ranging from fair employment practices to record retention. In addition, human resources audit procedures require extensive review of practices, policies and procedures that must conform to federal, state and local employment regulations.
Compensation and Benefits
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, became law in 2010. This health care reform measure contained several compliance elements of which human resources professionals must be aware. Reporting requirements may include calculating the value of employee benefits for inclusion on year-end W-2s. Based on such factors as the number of full-time employees, some employers may have an obligation to provide health care to their workers. If in doubt, employers should check PPACA regulations and modifications before determining whether they are in compliance regarding health benefits.
Fair Employment Practices
Human resources compliance with federal, state and local employments requires knowledge of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines as well as laws enforced by the National Labor Relations Board. The EEOC enforces regulations such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Noncompliance with these laws can increase employers' liability to claims of unfair employment practices and potential lawsuits based on discriminatory employment practices. Every human resources department should have access to materials that explain in detail the organization's obligations pertaining to maintaining an equal employment opportunity workplace.
Recruiting specialists, in particular, must be familiar with how to determine if employees are eligible for work in the United States by understanding guidelines set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department. An I-9 form contains lists of documents that job applicants must produced to prove eligibility for employment in the U.S. In cases where employers agree to sponsor work visas, recruitment and employment specialists must be up-to-date on laws that determine how to secure work visas on behalf of employees. The U.S. CIS produces a handbook that provides employers with guidelines for proper documentation of worker eligibility.
Most employers, regardless of industry, are accountable to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The federal agency publishes and enforces guidelines pertaining to workplace safety. Training programs, reporting requirements and maintenance of workplace logs are compliance methods that ensure employers are doing what's necessary to provide a safe working environment. Workplace injuries and deaths are preventable with adequate training and human resources oversight. Compliance with both federal and state guidelines, where applicable, is critical.
- TriNet: Top Five HR Compliance Issues for Small Businesses
- "Entrepreneur"; The Human Resources Audit: Adding HR to the Regular Audit Cycle Can Help Ensure Major Risks Aren't Overlooked; Kelli W. Vito; April 2008
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Handbook for Employers
- U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration: Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR)
- U.S. Government Printing Office: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.