Hiring employees can open a variety of issues that you may not be familiar with. Issues like discrimination, harassment, health, safety, privacy in the workplace and other employment issues can suddenly appear in the workplace. For information on these issues, review the box at the right.
An employee issue that may arise deals with “whistleblowers” in the workplace. For guidance on this issue, read Cooperatives Should Consider Implementing a Whistleblower Policy.
For more information on this topic, see the links listed below of articles posted on related Web sites.
- Race and National Origin Discrimination – NOLO Law for All -- Discrimination in the workplace hasn’t gone away. Here’s what it is and advice on what to do if you think it is happening to you.
- Avoiding Discrimination Based on Race and National Origin – NOLO Law for All -- You can't discriminate against people based on their national origin or on anything relating to their national origin.
- Your Rights Against Age Discrimination – NOLO Law for All -- State and federal laws protect workers from poor treatment based on their age.
- Avoiding Age Discrimination – NOLO Law for All -- State and federal laws protect older workers from discrimination on the basis of their age.
- Equal Pay for Equal Work – NOLO Law for All -- Men and women doing the same work are entitled to earn the same pay.
- Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation – NOLO Law for All -- Measures are emerging to protect gay and lesbian workers from discrimination in the workplace.
- Religious Discrimination – NOLO Law for All -- Employers must not discriminate against employees based on their religion, and they must accommodate employees' needs to practice their faiths.
- Religious Discrimination in the Workplace – NOLO Law for All -- Employers must accommodate their employees' religious beliefs, within reason.
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace – NOLO Law for All -- A growing number of laws prohibit discrimination against gay and lesbian employees.
- Preventing Employment Discrimination FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Answers to some common questions about workplace discrimination and harassment laws, including which laws apply to you and what you should do if an employee complains.
- Preventing Retaliation Claims by Employees – NOLO Law for All -- It's against the law to punish your employees for asserting their rights.
- Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws – NOLO Law for All -- Here's a description of the major federal laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace.
- Legal Protections for People with Disabilities – NOLO Law for All -- Employers must give qualified workers who have disabilities a chance.
- Sexual Harassment – NOLO Law for All -- Employees can use the law and their company's complaint procedures to protect themselves from harassment.
- Guidelines for Handling Discrimination and Harassment Complaints – NOLO Law for All -- By treating discrimination and harassment complaints with respect and care, employers can reduce the risk that the complaint will lead to a lawsuit.
Health and Safety
- Agricultural Employer's Resources for Safety – University of Florida Extension -- The very last thing you want or need as an agricultural employer is an unintentional injury or death in your operation.
- Creating a Positive Workplace for Your Associates – University of Florida Extension -- There are many ways in which managers and supervisors can create positive workplaces for their associates. To begin, they must define what a positive workplace is by establishing good relationships, improving teamwork and fostering innovations.
- Health and Safety FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Frequently asked questions about health and safety in the workplace.
- Worker’s Compensation FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Frequently asked questions about workers' compensation.
- What to Do if your Employer Fights Back – NOLO Law for All -- The law prohibits your employer from punishing you for asserting your rights under workplace safety laws.
- Smoking in the Workplace – NOLO Law for All -- As health concerns increase, more and more workplaces are smoke-free.
- Dealing with Unsafe Conditions – NOLO Law for All -- Steps to take if you think your workplace poses a hazard.
- Top Tips for Avoiding Legal Trouble with Employees – NOLO Law for All -- You can't afford to ignore or mishandle employment problems. A botched employment situation can cost you millions of dollars if it turns into a lawsuit. Protect yourself using these commonsense tips.
- Labor Laws Governing Employers – Small Business Notes -- The following is a brief synopsis of some of the federal statutes governing employers that may apply to your business.
- Employee Work Hours – Small Business Notes -- The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor has a variety of guidance materials available for both employees and employers on the subject of work hours.
- Wage and Hour Laws FAQ – NOLO Law for All – The laws governing how (and how much) workers are paid are anything but simple. The basics are covered here, including the minimum wage, overtime pay and compensatory time.
- Written Employment Contracts: Pros and Cons – NOLO Law for All -- Know when you should and should not ask a new employee to sign a written employment contract.
- Employment Law – Entrepreneur.com – Articles on employment law.
- Get Ready for an OSHA Inspection – Center for Industrial Research and Service – Everyone wants a safe work place, but a visit from OSHA can raise concerns.
- MyWorkTools – Templates for Interview Checklist, Performance Review Forms, Career Planning, Employee Manuals and more.
Privacy in the Workplace
- Privacy in the Workplace FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Want to run a background check, use an employment test or check up on employees' activities on or off the job? Be careful not to violate the law; here's what you need to know.
- Testing Employees – NOLO Law for All -- Can you require your employees to submit to a medical exam, drug screen, psychological test or lie detector test? Find out the rules here.
- Workplace Searches – NOLO Law for All -- If you believe a worker might be engaging in misconduct in the workplace, you will probably have to look into it. Here are some tips on how to conduct a search without violating your workers' right to privacy.
- Monitoring your Employees’ Email, Voicemail, Telephone and Internet Use – NOLO Law for All -- Should you monitor your employees' workplace communications? Here, we explain the law and provide some practical tips to help you avoid turning into Big Brother.
- Monitoring Employees’ Off-Duty Conduct – NOLO Law for All -- Are you allowed to monitor what your employees do when they are not on the job? Here are the rules.
- Leave Policies in the Workplace FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Learn the basics about what paid and unpaid leave you must provide to your employees.
- Vacation and Sick Leave – NOLO Law for All -- Even though no law requires you to offer paid vacation or sick leave, many employers do. Here are some tips for creating a fair and sensible policy.
- Family and Medical Leave – NOLO Law for All -- You may be legally required to give your employees time off to care for a seriously ill family member, to recuperate from their own serious illness or to care for a new child.
- Pregnancy and Parental Leave – NOLO Law for All -- Some employers must allow their employees to take leave after the arrival of a new child.
- Military Leave – NOLO Law for All -- State and federal laws protect workers who serve in the military.
- Employee Leave Plans – Small Business Notes -- The old concept of two weeks with pay has given way to a wide variety of paid and unpaid leave plans for all businesses.
Getting Paid vs Time Off
- Fair Pay and Time Off FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Frequently asked questions about the laws governing wages and hours of employees.
- When You Have to be Paid for Not Working – NOLO Law for All -- Find out the rules regarding pay for such things as on-call time, sleep time, education, training and breaks.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act - NOLO Law for All -- You might have the right to take time off work, but you probably won't get paid for it.
- Farm-Worker Cooperative Housing: Training Needs Assessment – Center for Cooperatives, University of California -- Identify “best practices” for farm-worker cooperatives housing.
- California's Farm-Worker Housing Cooperatives: Lessons on Farm-Worker Ownership and Management – Center for Cooperatives, University of California -- Evaluates the effectiveness of the cooperatives model in providing affordable home ownership to California’s farm-workers.
Personnel Policies and Practices
- Personnel Policies and Practices FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Answers to common questions about personnel policies, from creating and maintaining personnel files to evaluating and disciplining employees.
- Employers' Rights and Responsibilities – NOLO Law for All -- As soon as you hire your first employee, you'll need to know about laws governing employers' relationships with their workers.
- Why You Should Create an Employee Handbook – NOLO Law for All -- An employee handbook can be a valuable tool in communicating your policies to your workforce. But don't make any promises you don't intend to keep.
- Creating and Maintaining Personnel Files – NOLO Law for All -- Here's information on what you should and shouldn't keep in an employee's personnel file and on how to make sure that file is up to date.
- Who Has a Right to View Personnel Files? – NOLO Law for All -- In most states, employees have a right to inspect at least some portion of their own personnel files. For all other people, you should keep the files as confidential as possible.
- Do We Have to Follow Our Constructive Disciplinary Policy? -- NOLO Law for All -- Disciplining employees is often one of the most unpleasant parts of your job, but it's also one of the most important. Here are some tips on creating and implementing a disciplinary policy.
- Why You Need an Email Policy – NOLO Law for All -- Find out why you need to adopt a policy on employee use of email and what you should put in your policy.