The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Compliance: The Slippery Slope of Rules and Running Your Business

While HR is responsible for awareness of and compliance with laws, it should not be the primary focus of your HR function. Here's what you need to know!Businesses of all sizes have government regulations they must be aware of and comply with. This includes the smallest business with only one employee on a part-time basis. That employee is still entitled to proper pay and a work environment that is free of discrimination. Business owners and Human resources professionals consider compliance a major part of their function.

Who’s suppose to watch this?

In businesses that do not have a formal HR function, compliance awareness should be assigned to a member of the management team. The organization must keep current with laws and understand which of those impacts the organization. There are deadlines throughout the year that stem from many of these laws and dictate when forms must be completed and where to report employment statistics. When you order our new toolkit – HR Hacks – you’ll receive a complementary calendar of these dates! Typically, states, cities, counties, and other municipalities create additional regulations addressing more stringent requirements that must be complied with as well.

City, State, Federal…oh my!

Organizations that operate facilities in multiple locations are required to comply with regulations specific to where employees work, which gets especially complicated when a business operates across state lines. Add to that the fact that much of what HR considers when making decisions are not on-the-book regulations, but ever evolving legal precedence. The verdict in a lawsuit will guide HR professionals in the application of policies and procedures to ensure your organization will not end up with a similar legal action. Since a business cannot control which employees will pursue legal action HR professionals can learn from the example of others and protect the company when possible.

Walking the line between compliance and operations

But don’t be mistaken: while HR is responsible for awareness of and compliance with laws, it should not be the primary focus of your HR function. Laws must be adhered to, but they are also a springboard for critical business conversations. It is not productive to have an HR function that spends time using legal compliance as the excuse to keep an organization from meeting strategic goals. There are many ways to simultaneously address business needs, remain compliant, and move initiatives forward. Having a strategic HR partner is essential to ensure that your managers are receiving informed counseling on legal obligations, as well as brainstorming solutions that meet the needs of the operation at the same time.

So in the end…

Ultimately, compliance is the responsibility of the entire management team and should be the concern of ownership. The fines levied by the Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Internal Revenue Service can be staggering. The highest fines are those that are given to employers who act in a willful disregard for requirements. Those are the business owners, executives, and human resources professionals that were aware laws and protocols existed but did nothing to address the compliance requirements at their organization.

The preceding is an excerpt from Lori’s new book HR Hacks!

Do you handle HR for your company and feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions, to the point of exhaustion? The fix is on the way! Click here to find out about more HR Hacks to make your life A LOT easier.

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