If your business has experienced rapid growth or has been trying to fill a critical role for months, you may feel overwhelmed by the urgency to fill your open position. Your organization is feeling the strain of being understaffed, and your team’s stress is high. In the frenzy to hire a new team member quickly, it’s not uncommon for laws and regulations to be overlooked. In this article we cover 6 laws you can’t afford to miss. As always, remember that XcelHR is here to help you make sense of it all. Contact us if you have any questions on how to proceed with filling your next open position.

“Ban the Box” laws

35 states and over 150 cities and counties have passed “Ban the Box” laws that make it illegal to ask for a job candidate’s criminal history on a job application. Some variations of the law go further and prohibit an employer from asking for a candidate’s criminal history until the candidate has gone through the interview process and has been given a conditional offer. The intention behind these laws is to allow qualified job candidates to go through the recruiting process without the stigma of a conviction or arrest record, these initiatives provide applicants a fair chance at employment based on the individual’s skills and character. These laws do allow employers from running necessarily background checks on prospective employees before finalizing the hiring process.

Pay disclosure laws

14 states have some version of a pay disclosure law on their books, so you should check local laws for the specific regulations that govern your business. These laws prohibit a prospective employer from asking for a candidate’s pay history. Many also prohibit the use of pay history information when determining a new employee’s compensation if the information is volunteered or discovered. Some variants of the laws also protect employees who discuss their pay with coworkers from retaliation form the employer.

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)

The IRCA makes it illegal for any employer to knowingly hire foreign workers who are not legally permitted to work in the US. Employers must verify that new employees can work in the U.S. by having them fill out an I-9.

I-9 forms are used to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for employment in the United States (whether a citizen or noncitizen). Employers must complete a Form I-9 for every new hire. Typically, they are only used when the federal government is conducting an enforcement audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Employers must keep I-9 forms on file for all employees and must be stored for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated (whichever is later).

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The primary function of the ADA is to provide employees and job applicants with disabilities equal opportunities in the workplace. Any employer with 15 or more employees is subject to the equal opportunity requirements of the ADA

An employer MAY NOT ask a job applicant to answer medical questions or take a medical exam before officially offering a job. Employers cannot ask a job applicant if they have a disability, how they may have become disabled, or about any prior workers’ compensation history. However, they can ask applicants whether they can perform the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Equal pay

Despite women making up almost half of the US workforce, a gender pay gap still exists. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) seeks to combat this continued pay disparity by trying to eliminate gender discrimination in the workplace. Employers need to be mindful of the Equal Pay Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, and other equal pay legislation that governs how employers pay their employees, especially when those employees perform similar tasks. Companies that fail to adapt to these laws are opening the doors to compliance and litigation that will result in back pay to the company’s employees.

Learn more about Equal pay

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

Discriminating against applicants or employees based on their age is illegal. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 protects workers from workplace age discrimination. ADEA protects workers that are age 40 and older, and applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Any employment policy or practice that adversely impacts applicants or employees over 40 and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age (RFOA) is also illegal.

It is legal for an employer or potential employer to ask an applicant or employee’s age and graduation date. A common need/use is for an employee or applicant’s date of birth is to conduct a routine background check. Or an employer might be required to verify age if there is a minimum age requirement for a position. How the employer uses the information is what’s important. Employers that use an applicant’s or employee’s age for an unlawful purpose could be hit with a lawsuit.

Learn more about the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

These are just a few of the laws to be aware of when hiring a new team member. Make sure you research the laws in your area to be sure that you are following all applicable regulations. If you have any questions about how to proceed, contact your friends at XcelHR for advice and best practices for hiring your next employee. XcelHR takes the stress out of growing your business.