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Excerpt--Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws, 3rd ed

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2011, 544 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-4133-1379-6

Item #61.14000-3


Most managers and human resources professionals—particularly those who work for larger companies—have to deal with federal employment laws every day. These laws reach into nearly every stage of the employment relationship, from hiring and first day paperwork, to providing benefits and time off, to termination and layoffs. Whether you are developing workplace policies, creating forms and notices for your company to use with employees, establishing hiring and firing procedures, determining pay scales, choosing benefits, or handling employee performance and discipline issues, you have to understand your company’s legal obligations—and make sure that you don’t inadvertently violate the law.

It can be tough to find out exactly what these federal laws require. To fully understand your company’s obligations, you need a resource that explains each law clearly and completely, in plain English. That’s where this book comes in. It explains all of the major federal employment laws: whom they protect, who has to follow them, what they require, and what they prohibit. Each chapter covers a single federal employment law, including the obligations and rights employers have under each law, deadlines, posting requirements, and record-keeping rules. If you need more information, each chapter includes a list of resources. And many of the chapters include charts that provide information on laws in the 50 states and the District of Columbia that cover the same topic.

This first chapter gives you the information you need to get the most out of this book. First, we explain how to figure out which laws your company has to follow, including which federal laws apply to your company and when and how state and local laws might come into play. Next, we cover a handful of practical strategies that will help your company comply with these laws, such as consulting with a lawyer, documentation, and training. Finally, we explain what to do if you need more help.

Which Laws Your Company Must Follow

Employment law comes from many sources. Each of the federal laws (also called “statutes”) covered in this book has been interpreted and refined by court decisions and sometimes by regulations issued by the federal agency responsible for enforcing and administering the law. Many of the topics these laws cover are also addressed by state, and sometimes even local, laws. If more than one law applies, employers generally have to follow whichever law—federal, state, or local—is more beneficial to employees.

You can use this book to figure out which federal laws apply to your company, whether those laws protect particular employees, and whether the situation you’re facing is addressed by a federal employment law. “Which Federal Laws Apply,” below, will help you get to this information quickly.

This book also provides some information on state laws, in the form of charts briefly describing the laws of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, at the end of some chapters. However, you may have to do some research on your own—or talk to a lawyer—to find out whether a state or local law applies to your situation. This is covered in “Which State and Local Laws Apply,” below.

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