A Brief Guide to Employment Law for New Employers

It can be an exciting time for a business owner when their business has grown large enough to employ people to continue with the required expansion. However, there are some key points that every new employer should be aware of so they do not fall foul of employment laws that regulate employers and their employees.

1. Employers should issue an employment contract within 12 weeks of an employee’s start date. Failure to do so could mean that an employer has immediately broken the law. The contract should outline the terms and conditions of employment and include things such as remuneration, working hours, holiday allowance and holiday pay.

2. Ensuring that a business employs the right people is important and during the employment process care should be taken not to discriminate in any way against potential employees, this includes discriminating on the basis of age, race and disability.

3. The National minimum wage should be a consideration as this varies according to age of employee.

4. Job descriptions are an important part of employing staff. If staff do not have clear and defined roles outlining their duties and exactly what is expected of them then this can lead to constructive and unfair dismissal cases.

5. The grievance policy should be set out and explained clearly at an early phase of an employee’s employment. An employee has a right to express a grievance either with their line manager or know the protocol if the grievance is with their line manager. Failure to clearly outline this policy can also lead to employers being taken to an employment tribunal.

It is important for employers to realise that employee’s have rights in the workplace and that failure to observe these rights can lead to breaches of employment law. It is becoming increasingly common for employee’s who have been on the receiving end of a breach of employment law to seek the specialist help of employment lawyers who are experts in helping them obtain justice.

This help is not just for the employee though employers are increasingly employing the services of employment law specialists to help them either prevent potential breaches of the law by drawing up employment contracts or providing terms and conditions for them to give to employee’s. In some cases employers will use employment solicitors to act on their behalf if an employee does decide to try and take the employer to an employment tribunal.

Employment Law Advice for Small to Medium Businesses

For those of you who are starting a business or to existing business owners, the rules surrounding employment law can become very complicated when you are looking to employ other people. However, as difficult as it may be, it is important for you to become familiar with these rules in order to comply with you legal responsibilities as an employer. Different laws will apply to different countries, so it is essential to become aware of the laws that will be applicable to you so that you can protect your business and prevent any future litigation. Here are some main areas of employment law that you will need to be familiar with.

Contract of Employment

It will be necessary to provide your employees with a written statement of the terms of employment when they start their employment with you. The main topics you would need to account for within the terms of employment, include, the name of the parties to the agreement, job description, hours of work, details of pay, both employer and employee obligations, place of work and holiday pay entitlement. Although this list is not complete and you may want to add some extra terms that may be relevant to your business. This ensures both you and your employees are fully aware of the obligations under the contract of employment. Should any disputes arise in the future, you can always refer back to the contract of employment in support of your case.

Discrimination

It is important to become aware of discrimination laws, as damages awarded for unlawful discrimination can be high. As an employer you should do all that you can to prevent unlawful discrimination at your place of work. Do not discriminate against someone because of their race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or if they have a certain disability. This can also apply when you are advertising and interviewing candidates for job roles. You should select those candidates based on the specific skill required for that job. Try to ensure that you provide equal opportunities to all your workers.

Vicarious Liability

As an employer, you will be legally liable for the acts of all of your staff. So it is important to take any complaints of bullying or harassment from other workers seriously and investigate them thoroughly. Ensuring you have a grievance procedure in place for dealing with these sorts of issues will also be useful.

Minimum Wage

Within some countries, employers are under a legal duty to pay their workers the national minimum wage. Usually, this is worked out based on the workers age and what year they started employment with you. If you already have a contract of employment in place that pays below the minimum wage, the contract will not be legally binding, so it is always best to check if you are complying with these rules.

Health and Safety in the Workplace

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe, working environment is maintained for all workers and members of the public that enter the premises. It is therefore wise to carry out a thorough risk assessment of the work place as well as for each employee and comply with all health and safety regulations, to avoid any negligence claims. The assessments you chose to carry out will depend on the nature of your business, even simple tasks such as ensuring spillages are cleaned up, signs are placed clearly indicating any potential hazards, providing protective clothing and storing hazardous substances appropriately will help to avoid negligence claims.

Although employment law sounds like a minefield, being aware of the rules and seeking advice could go a long way to help protect your business. There are lots of resources online that may help you with this and if you are really confused, prevention is always better and seeking out advice from employment law specialists might work better for you.

Sayse Services provide a claims management service for employees who have been treated unfairly at work. The website contains a substantial amount of free information on employment law.

A Brief Look at Employment Law

If you are an American then you must have heard about the labor law. In the same way, there is also an employment law. The health and safety is of major concern for the government of America and also for most of the governments across the world. You should understand the difference between the employment laws as well the labor laws. The employment laws are strictly followed in America. Each employer has to fix the employment poster in the office. They have to make sure that they provide the best hygienic condition to the employees. This is because the government of America has made it clear that each employee should be provided with the care as far as their health and safety is concerned.

It is also very important to make sure that each employer should have a fix business plan and this is necessary. Apart from the health factor, the employer has to pay nice wage rate. The wage rate is different in different countries as well as in various states of United States. You might find that sometimes the employer might be paying lower amount. The government has made it quite clear that if the employee will complain then the strict action will be taken against the employers and this is a law.

Despite of many laws, the government still feels that they should do something on his behalf. The reality is that people might feel a bit cheated by the employers. Before the labor law come into existence, the employers were exploiting most of their employees. They were not being given proper compensation.

If you will have a look now, then you will certainly find that the employees will be paid the compensation as well as the incentives if they work for overtime. You should know that an employer could not just ask anybody to work for more than 40 hours a week. If they work for more hours then, in that case, a good incentive is being given to the employees. The employment law has changed the scenario here in America a lot for the employees.Apart from the health factor, the employer has to pay nice wage rate. The wage rate is different in different countries as well as in various states of United States. You might find that sometimes the employer might be paying lower amount. The government has made it quite clear that if the employee will complain then the strict action will be taken against the employers and this is a law.

Employment Law – How to Make it Work For You in a Recession!

As every media outlet in the UK and beyond has been repeatedly telling us for the past couple of months, we are already in a period of economic recession. As you will also be aware, this means a tough time for businesses small and large. A topic that might not immediately spring to mind when you think of this, however, is that of Employment Law and in particular the risks you are taking if you your employment procedures are not compliant.

For both employees and employers alike, this is an area that needs to be closely inspected in case the recession reaches the low point that it is forecast to reach. Yet it’s not just the consequences of the credit crunch which might lead you to look at Employment Law a little more closely. Over the past 20 years there has been a steady rise in the amount of employees taking their employers to court over decisions that they felt, after seeking legal advice, were not in accordance with Employment Law. This has particularly been the case over the past five years since the introduction of a huge amount of protective employment law and regulations that companies now have to comply with. Although much if it is the codification of simple good practice, there are a number of areas where companies continue to trip up – indeed, it can be a minefield.

It can be a traumatic experience for all parties involved, not to mention for those connected to parties involved, which is why knowledge in this field of law is especially useful. Good advice will reduce any stress and worry involved, so that you can rest assured that your procedures are watertight and potential claims are limited.

There are various reasons as to why an employee might take legal action against his former (or sometimes current) employer. Three of the most frequent reasons include Harassment, Discrimination, and Unfair Dismissal.

Discrimination is a common complaint, particularly since the instigation of the Human Right Acts, and it can take a number of forms. The grounds on which people are discriminated against comprise of anything including:

1. Sex
2. Race
3. Disability
4. Religious Belief
5. Age
6. Sexual Orientation

Instances in which it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you on the grounds of these include:

o Refusing to employ or consider you for a job
o Offering you a job on less favourable terms than others
o Refusing to promote or transfer you to another job
o Giving you less favourable benefits than a colleague
o Shortening your working hours
o Dismissing you or making you redundant

There is a huge amount of legislation relating to the different types of discrimination and it is imperative that your company complies rather than facing the consequences of not doing so. If a disabled person was to take legal action against their employer then they would do so upon the basis of the Disability Discrimination Acts of 1995 and 2005, for example. Another illustration of this would be the 1976 Race Relations Act, which makes it unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you on the grounds of your colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins.

Harassment on the grounds of sex, including sexual harassment, is considered to be direct discrimination and is strictly prohibited by law. In broad terms, harassment can occur where: Unwanted conduct on any of the areas covered by the discrimination laws is apparent; an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive atmosphere is created; or the person is the recipient of embarrassing jokes, offensive jokes, pranks, or unwelcome physical or sexual advances.

In addition to Discrimination and Harassment, there is the matter of Unfair Dismissal. If you are an employee and feel your employer has dismissed you unfairly then you might be able to make an unfair dismissal claim to an Employment Tribunal. However, in most instances you will need to have been employed for at least a year to make a claim. The onus is on you as an employee to show you have been dismissed and your employer to show they have a valid reason for dismissing you and acted reasonably in the circumstances. An important thing to note here is that (again, in most instances) a claim must be made within 3 months of the effective date of termination. Nevertheless, this may be extended to 6 months in some situations.

Ultimately, it can only be beneficial to stay abreast of Employment Law to make sure you are treated fairly and treat your employees fairly, and it is important to get professional legal advice on any matter that might lead to legal action. This knowledge, in turn, will reduce any stress on your part, which any employee or employer will admit is a welcome consideration regardless of the economic climate.

John Mehtam is an experienced employment law solicitor and specialises in employment law advice from Shropshire based Martin Kaye.

Do Federal Employment Laws Affect My Business?

One of the most important responsibilities of a business owner is to hire and retain effective employees. Today the employee/employer relationship has been complicated by the large number of complicated laws and regulations governing this area. The United States Department of Labor, for example, enforces more than 180 employment laws and regulations. The following are brief summaries on some of the biggest employment laws that may apply to your business:

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): FLSA contains the federal minimum wage and overtime standards. According to the act, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. In cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage. For example, the minimum wage in Arizona is $7.35 (as of November 15, 2011), so a non-exempt employee in Arizona would be entitled to the Arizona rate. Within the act, many types of occupations or workers are specified as exempt from the standards of the FLSA and do not receive minimum wage or overtime benefits.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII): Title VII is very broad and is the basis of much of the employment law that deals with discrimination. It prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment and discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. This act applies to employers that have had more than 15 employees in the previous year.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): This act requires employers of 50 or more employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave for certain medical and family reasons. Reasons for protected leave may include the birth or adoption of a child, the need to care for a seriously ill family member, or inability to work because of a serious health condition.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA): The purpose of the ADEA is to protect workers who are age 40 or older. This act applies to private employers with 20 or more employees. Generally, the ADEA prohibits an employer from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating in any way against an employee age 40 or older. Although the act does not prohibit asking a job applicant his age or date of birth, requests for age information may be closely scrutinized to ensure that the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): The ADA prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, or other employment decisions against qualified individuals with disabilities. An employer cannot ask whether an applicant is disabled or ask about the severity of a disability. However, an employer can usually ask whether an applicant can perform job-related tasks, and employers can require that an individual demonstrate how job duties will be accomplished. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualified disabilities. Employers with 15 or more employees are covered by the ADA.

Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA): The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. Determination of whether the jobs are substantially equal depends on the job duties, not the job title. This act applies to all forms of employee compensation. Virtually all employers are covered under the EPA.

This is only a partial list of federal employment laws. Each of the states has additional laws and regulations that govern the employee/employer relationship. Failure to follow any of the state or federal employment laws and regulations may result in costly litigation. Much of the litigation regarding the employer/employee relationship can be prevented if certain procedures are followed and put in place.

Do You Know Your Employer Law?

Being a small business owner is more than a job, it is a way of life. You are on call all hours of the day, night, and weekend to handle issues, fill in the gaps, and make sure your baby is running smoothly and generating a profit. Yet between managing your clients and your bottom line, is there something you are forgetting to stay updated on? If you don’t know the latest details about employer law, then you are setting up yourself – and all your hard work – for major issues.

Employer law is the government written guidelines for how a business of any size needs to deal with certain issues like maternity leave, employing minors, verifying worker legality, paying for overtime, and providing benefits and wages. While business owners have autonomy handling many aspects of their business, the way they care for and treat their employees is monitored by the government partly to ensure employees are not being mistreated, and partly so they can get their cut.

The tricky part of employer law is that, especially over the past several years, it has been adjusted considerably; meaning just because you understood the law as it stood three years ago doesn’t mean you understand the law as it is today. What this means to you as a small business own is what you don’t know about new law could cost you in the form of penalties or even legal action. And if your business is like so many small businesses right now, unexpected fines could push you over the brink into bankruptcy.

Yet the government isn’t the only party interested in you following the law as it is outlined – employees also look to employer law as a measure of how they expect to be treated, particularly in terms of benefits. So if you are not following the most up to date employer law, the hammer that could fall on you may come from within your own organization, not the federal entity.

The problem is taking the time to be consistently up to date on the ever changing employer regulations utilizes resources and attention that you as a small business owner likely cannot afford to give. What is the solution then? The best bet is to hire a lawyer who specializes in employment law to consult with you and review your business once or twice a year to make sure you are up to date and following protocol. While it may seem like an unnecessary step, hiring a lawyer relieves you from needing to not only research employer law but also understand it and apply it to your business. A lawyer will be able to tell you exactly where and how you need to make changes and keep you from wasting your own time. Employing a lawyer to review your current situation also means you will have a legal power already familiar with your business if in fact some breach of employer law does occur and you need counsel.

At the end of the day, you have enough to worry about and spend your energy on without bringing complicated employer law issues into the picture. After all, between making a profit and staying afloat in this uncertain economy, your resources as a manager and owner are probably maxed out. Do yourself a favor and pass off the employer law responsibilities to a professional who can make sense of the legal jargon and keep your business in good standing with both the government and your employees.

Need Help With Employment Law?

Many people need advice on employment law when there is an employment issue needing to be resolved such as dismissal and bullying. In these times it is important to locate a firm specialising in this area which can work alongside you, guide you and put in place simple systems and procedures that will allow you to manage tomorrow’s problems.

Employment law requires the employer to provide an employment agreement but it is important for the employer to ensure the employment agreement is tailored to the needs of the business: Any old agreement will not do.

This is an area of law where prevention is better and cheaper than the cure or, to put it another way, it is better to know where you stand before you are standing in it! Personal grievances and claims that the employer unfairly dismissed an employee, failed to investigate a complaint of workplace bullying or stress, or failed to consult the employee about restructuring and the resulting redundancy can be prevented by obtaining good advice on employment law.

If you are a small to medium sized business you are unlikely to have inhouse advice. You need advice from a firm that understands the world of business and the difficulties of running a business. However, lawyers and advocates providing employment law services should be specialists. Your lawyer who has helped you when buying or selling your house or business is a commercial lawyer and not a specialist in employment law.

Some employment law firms act for only employers or employees: Other firms act for both. They have the advantage of knowing better how both employees and employers think when faced not only with the employment relationship problem itself but also the stress of managing it.

A lawyer or advocate specialising in employment law understands how the employment law institutions work: They know about the mediation process, the investigative process of the Employment Relations Authority and hearing process of the Employment Court. They should also know about the costs of using these processes.

Whether you are an employer or employee, when looking for a firm, see if they provide free advice. A free phone consultation allows you to assess not only whether you need further advice but also whether the person on the phone sounds like the person you need. You can also check out their websites to see if they give information through blogs and articles: They are often a good indication of the person that will be representing you.� You want to work with a lawyer or advocate who speaks plainly and can advocate passionately.

Finally, because you will be using your hard-earned money to pay for the services you require, you are entitled to expect the best.

Phil Butler and Associates Ltd is one of Canterbury’s leading employment law advocacy firms. Since 1992 we have been providing advice and representation to employees and employers on employment agreements, employment problems (such as personal grievances, disputes, harassment, redundancy, unfair dismissals & workplace bullying) and the laws governing them.

Our mission is to ensure clients feel supported and confident their interests are being protected and promoted.

What is Employment Law?

The term Employment Law covers a wide range of topics that relate to the employee and employer relationship. It is also commonly referred to as Labor or Labour Law. It encompasses a body of laws, restrictions, administrative rulings and precedents that address the legal rights of working people as well as restrictions of the employer and employee relationship.

The basic feature of employment law in almost every country is that the rights and obligations with the employee and employer relationship are governed and mediated through a contract between the two. However, many of the terms and conditions of the contract are implied by legislation and common law. In the United States, the majority of state laws allow for employment “at will”, meaning the employer is able to terminate an employee for any reason, as long as the reason is not an illegal reason.

One of the most common employment laws incorporated in most countries around the world is the Minimum Wage law. The minimum wage is the lowest wage an employee can be paid and is determined by the forces of supply and demand in a free market. This acts as a price floor.

The United States was the first country to employ a minimum wage in 1938. This was followed by India in 1948, France in 1950 and the United Kingdom in 1998. In the European Union, 18 of the 25 states have minimum wage laws.

Another common employment law is the Working Time law. This not only governs the amount of time an adult is allowed to work, but also the amount of time that children can work. This also includes mandates of how much vacation time must be given to employees.

In the United States, the Wages and Hours Act of 1938 set the maximim standard work week to 44 hours and in 1950, this was reduced to 40 hours. Despite this law, there are some jobs that require more than 40 hours to complete the tasks of the job. For example, if you are a farm worker, you can work over 72 hours a week, if you want to. However, you cannot be required to.

These laws are the most common employment laws in use today. However, there are dozens of other laws regulating and protecting the employer and employee relationship.

All That You Need To Know About Employment Law

Employment law is not just a single law, something that most people believe it to be. In actuality, it is a complete system that was set up to help protect employees from employers by creating laws and standards of treatment that have to respected and followed by employers. This includes providing different types of benefits, such as health care insurance to not only the employees, but also their families. This system also prevents employers from discriminating towards any employee, in terms of religion, race, gender, disability and sexual orientation.

Employment law has become a very important part of the judiciary system because it helps to protect the most basic of human rights in the place of employment. There are plenty of other essential topics that this law covers. It is also and more commonly referred to as the Labor Law and it refers to the obligations and rights of the employee and employer, which are usually voiced through a contract between the two parties. However, this law should not be considered to be solely in the advantage of the employees, because in reality, some experts actually claim that the current Labor Law gives too much power and authority to the employers. For example, the current law gives the employers the full authority to fire any employee for whatever reason, as long as it is not breaking the law.

However, there is a lot of positive things about the law, such as the standards that employers have to meet, for example making sure the workplace is completely healthy and safe. In addition, employers cannot take advantage of their employees in any way, or the employee has full authority to complain to authorities, such as forcing them to work overtime, without compensating them accordingly. The law actually covers two different types of protection laws. The first one is the collective labor laws, which are agreed upon between the workers union and the employers. This covers union strikes and picketing in the workplace environment. The other type of law is the individual labor laws that are either requirements by the state or federal government, such as working hours, minimum wage and safety.

The 21st century doesn’t allow employers to treat their employees any way they please, something that was very common only a couple of decades ago, and still is very common in third world countries. It was never in anyone’s mind that law and order would take such a strong stance on employment, especially since what history has taught us.

But thanks to some great minds that set us along the right way, we have been able to grow as both a country and as humans. Employment Law ensures that employers are no longer treated like animals and forced to work for close to nothing and in terrible and unhealthy conditions. In addition, as time passes, the labor laws will only start to get better and more in touch with what the employees and employers both feel is best for the growth of the overall economy of the country.

Employment Law – As It Applies to Confidentiality

With all the new information concerning HIPAA, which is scheduled to be fully implemented by April of 2005. you need to be aware of the confidentiality laws that govern your practice. One aspect of confidentiality concerns employment law. There are federal and state guidelines that address employment and discrimination laws.

The common law governs the relationship between employer and employees in terms of tort and contract duties. These rules are a part of agency law and the relationship between Principle (employer) and Agent (employee). In some instances, but not all, this law has been replaced by statutory enactments, principally on the Federal level. The balance and working relationship between employer and employee is greatly affected by government regulations. The terms of employment between management and the employee is regulated by federal statute designed to promote employer management and welfare of the employee. Federal law also controls and prohibits discrimination in employment based upon race, sex, religion, age, handicap or national origin. In addition, Congress has also mandated that employers provide their employees a safe and healthy environment to work in. All states have adopted Worker’s Compensation Acts that provide compensation to employees that have been injured during the course of their duties for the employer.

As I mentioned above, a relationship that is closely related to agency is the employee. and principle-independent contractor. In the employer-employee relationship, also called the (master-servant relationship), the employer has the right to control the physical conduct of the employee. A person who engages an independent contractor to do a specific job does not have the right to control the conduct of the independent contractor in the performance of his or her contract. The contract time to complete the job depends upon the employer’s time frame to complete the desired task(s), or job. Keep in mind that the employer may still be held liable for the torts committed by an employee within the scope of his or her employment. In contrast an employer ordinarily is not liable for torts committed by an independent contractor, but there are instances when the employer can be held liable for the acts of the independent contractor. Know your laws governing hiring a person as an independent contractor.

Labor law is not really applicable to your practice of Chiropractic in a practice setting. We will concentrate on employment and discrimination law. There are a number of Federal Statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, age and handicap. The main framework of Federal employment discrimination law is Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but also the Equal Pay Act, Discrimination in Employment Act of 1973, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and many Executive Orders. In all cases each state has enacted laws prohibiting the same discriminations as Federal Statutes.

Equal Pay Act: This act prohibits an employer from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying unequal wages for the same work. The act also forbids the employer from paying wages at a rate less than the rate at which he pays for equal work at the same establishment. Once the employee has demonstrated that the employer pays unequal wages for equal work to members of the opposite sex, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to prove that the pay difference is based upon the following:

1. Seniority system
2. Merit system
3. A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production
4. Or any factor except sex.

Remedies may include recovery of back pay and enjoining the employer from further unlawful conduct and or sizeable fines.
Civil Rights Act of 1964: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin in hiring, firing, compensating, promoting, training or employees. Each of the following could constitute a violation prohibited by the Act:

1. Employer utilizing a proscribed criteria in making an employment decision. Prima Facie evidence would show, if the employee was within a protected class, applied for an open position and was qualified for the position, was denied the job and the employed continued to try to fill the position. Once these criteria’s are established, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to justify a nondiscriminatory reason for the person’s rejection for the job.

2. An employer engages in conduct which appears to be neutral or non-discriminatory, but continues to continue past discriminatory practices.

3. The employer adopts rules, which are adverse to protected classes, which are not justified as being necessary to the practice business. The enforcement agency is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It has the right to file legal actions, resolve action through mediation, or other means prior to filing suit. Investigate all charges of discrimination and issue guidelines and regulations concerning the enforcement policy of discrimination law.

The Act provides three defenses: A bona fide seniority or merit system, an occupational qualification or a professionally developed ability test. Violations of this act include: enjoining the employer from engaging in unlawful conduct, or behavior. Affirmative action and reinstatement of employees and back wages from a date not more than two years prior to the filing of the charge with the EEOC.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1976: This Act prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, salaries, on the basis of age. Under Title VII it address all these areas and ages, but it is especially benefits individuals between the ages of 40-70 years. The language in this act is substantive for individuals between 40-70 years of age. The defenses and remedies are the same as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Employee Safety: In 1970 Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This Act ensured that every worker have a safe and healthful working environment. This Act established that OSHA develop standard, conduct inspections, monitor compliance and institute and enforce actions against non-compliance.

The Act makes each employer to provide a work environment that is free from recognized hazards that can cause or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to the employees. In addition, employers are required to comply with specific safety risks outlined by OSHA in their rules and regulations.

The Act also prohibits any employer from discharging or discriminating against an employee who exercises his rights under this Act.
The enforcement of this Act involves inspections and citations for the following:

1. Breach of general duty obligations
2. Breach of specific safety and health standards
3. Failure to keep proper records, make reports or post notices required under this Act

When a violation is discovered, a written citation, proposed penalty, and corrective date are given to the employer. Citations may be contested and heard by an administrative judge at a hearing. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission can grant a review of an administrative law judge’s decision. If not, than the decision of the judge becomes final. The affected party may appeal the decision to the US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Penalties for violations are both civil and criminal and may be as high as $1000.00 per violation per day, while criminal penalty be imposed as well for unlawful violations. OSHA may shut down a business for violations that create dangers of death or serious injury.

Worker’s Compensation: Most actions by injured employees against an employer are due to failure of the employer to use reasonable care under the circumstances for the safety of the employee. In such actions the employer has several well-established defenses available to him. They include defenses of the fellow servant rule. This rule does not make an employer liable for injuries sustained by an employee caused by the negligence of a fellow employee. If an employer establishes that the negligence of an employee contributed to the injury he sustained in the course of his employment, in many jurisdictions the employee cannot recover damages from the employer. Voluntary assumption of risk is the third defense. An employer in most jurisdictions is not liable to the employee for harm or injury caused by unsafe conditions of the premises if the employee, with knowledge of the facts and understanding the risks involved, voluntary inters into or continues in the employment of the employer.

Keep in mind that all states have enacted Worker’s Compensation Acts. These statutes create commissions or boards to determine whether an injured worker is entitled to receive compensation. Defenses above are not available in most jurisdictions to employers in proceeding under these statutes. The only requirement is that the employee be injured in the course of his employment.

Fair Labor and Standards Act: This act regulates the employment of child labor outside of agriculture. This act prohibits the employment of anyone less than 14 years of age in non-farm work. Fourteen and Fifteen years old may be employed for a limited number for hours outside of school hours, under specific conditions of non-hazardous occupations. Sixteen and seventeen year olds may work any non-hazardous jobs. Eighteen and older person may work in any job. This Act imposes wage and hour requirements upon covered employers. This act provides for a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay.

Keep in mind HIPAA laws are involved in confidentiality and proper record keeping and address many of the areas discussed in this article.

Dr. Kenneth S. Ross DC, JD
Altamonte Springs Chiropractor

Altamonte Health & Wellness
100 Marcia Drive
Altamonte Springs, FL 32724
407-875-2000