2022 New Year Compliance Check-Up
It’s a good idea for every employer to start the year with a “legal checkup” to ensure compliance with the maze of laws, rules, and regulations that apply to all businesses, no matter how small. The beginning of a new,year is a good time to look over existing policies and practices, to see if anything needs to be changed.
Here’ s a list of particularly important ones from Business Lawyer Tom Farrell:
1. Get compliant with anti-harassment policies. Both New York State and New York City have adopted extensive regulations about anti-harassment policies and training. Make sure sign-in sheets and other documentation are used for training.
2. Both New York State and New York City have adopted extensive paid-leave laws. The circumstances for which leave is available are similar under both laws, but the City’s “Sick/Safe” law includes additional circumstances under which paid leave must be given, designed to protect victims of various sex-related crimes.
3. New York State requires that every business have a written plan describing how it is going to keep its workers safe from communicable airborne diseases. The requirements are lengthy but so is the assistance the DOL provides.
4. Get compliant with New York City laws. The salary-history law, the “ban the box” law, and the Fair Chance Act, among others, apply to ALL employers no matter how few employees. Review your job application forms and any advertising.
5. Review your use of “independent contractors” to make sure they really are independent contractors and not employees. (Hint: it’s not up to you and your worker to decide.) Also, make sure your policies – written and unwritten– don’t prohibit employees from discussing their wages or terms and conditions of employment.
6. Get OSHA compliant. If your work involves hazardous materials or dangerous machinery, check your training records regarding PPE, Lockout/Tagout, etc. It is little good to have policies if your employees are not regularly trained, and little good to do training if the training records are not maintained.
7. Review your company’s vacation policy; if it’s not in writing, put it in writing. Make sure it includes clear explanations of accrual, carryover, and forfeiture of vacation. Consider whether a PTO policy (Paid Time Off) would be more efficient than separate Vacation and Sick Days policies.
8. Review your use of confidentiality agreements. First, identify and protect your trade secrets or confidential information. Second, make sure you don’t restrict every employee to the same degree–courts uniformly reject the “one-size-fits-all” approach. Last, remind departing employees who have signed such agreements what the terms of their agreement are.
At TMF Law Offices, we mean Business.
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