November 10, 2023
From military combat to sports, the age-old idiom, “The best defense is a good offense,” has proven sound advice throughout the ages. It has equal application to your business as well. If you want to keep the doors to your enterprise open and functioning in the face of legal threats, it is best to be proactive rather than reactive.
Failing to comply with the state and federal laws, rules, and regulations that affect your business can create a legal headache. With so many tasks to keep track of in an HR department, it can be easy to overlook compliance until you are faced with a lawsuit or notified of a violation.
By focusing on compliance now, you can avoid unnecessary legal disputes and resolve those matters that do come up more readily. Here is how you can help ensure your business stays on the right side of the law.
Learn Which Regulations Apply to You
What you do not know can hurt you and your business. If you are unfamiliar with all the laws, rules, and regulations your business is subject to, you are starting at a disadvantage.
Therefore, the first step in an effective compliance strategy is to familiarize yourself with these laws and what they require of you and your business.
This step is best accomplished with help from an employment and business defense lawyer with considerable experience and focus in these areas of the law. Because regulations and laws change frequently, an attorney whose practice is dedicated to this area of the law can provide you with current advice and answers.
Review Your Employment Contracts and Policies
Employment-related disputes can impact more than your bottom line. Depending on the nature of the employment dispute, you could face damages awards, fines, and other penalties for discriminatory or illegal conduct.
Beyond these consequences, employee lawsuits and complaints can distract you from operating your business effectively, lead to bad publicity, and negatively affect employee morale.
Review your hiring, disciplinary, and termination policies and practices to address these potential pitfalls. Ensure they are current and comply with laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and other relevant laws.
If you use an employment contract or packet, review it to verify that it is legally accurate and does not make assurances of employment that you are not ready to honor.
Ensure Your Managers and Employees Are Properly Trained
It is one thing to develop new policies and procedures so that your business appears to comply with the law. However, ensuring your operation stays on the right side of the law requires you and all other employees to know these policies and how to follow them.
This means having a deliberate and effective training program for new and existing employees so that they can be kept informed about your policies and updates to them.
Any training program you create to meet this requirement should be designed carefully. Your company’s future and assets could depend on how well your workers follow laws and your directives. The training should be taught by qualified personnel, and there should also be a process for documenting when your employees receive training.
Develop and Enforce an Employee Disciplinary Policy
Employees who willfully refuse to follow your policies or the law can subject you and your business to legal liability. Similarly, those employees who forget your policies or the law and thereby fail to follow them are a potential liability for you and your business.
There must be clear policies to address both kinds of employees and terminate those workers who will not or cannot comply. When crafting these policies, ensure they are clear and direct but still comply with applicable state and federal laws.
For example, it would be illegal and ill-advised to create a disciplinary policy denying an employee termination for the cause of their final paycheck.
Like other policies, a disciplinary policy is of little value if it is never used. Once you have developed your disciplinary policy and educated your employees about it, you must enforce it.
Your enforcement should be consistent and even-handed, not favoring one employee over the other and striving in all cases to follow the policy as it is written.
Keep Your Finances Current and Available
Your business’s financial books should be kept clear and up-to-date. If you do not feel you can accurately keep your company’s books, consider hiring an accountant or bookkeeper to help you. Having financial records that are accurate and available for inspection is a hallmark of an ethical business.
Keeping accurate financial records also helps you comply with necessary financial disclosures to government authorities. When it is time to pay your taxes, or if you are subject to an audit, you will appreciate having kept meticulous records.
It is far easier to respond to such requests and obligations when your records are kept in order instead of attempting to assemble them under pressure.
Partner With an Experienced Business Law Firm
No matter the size of your business, you need a legal resource to whom you can turn to help you stay in compliance with the law. This resource can also take prompt and decisive action on your behalf in the event you need legal representation.
You may feel as though you are capable of handling your company’s legal needs yourself, but having a lawyer on your side can allow you to direct more of your attention to your business operations.
Maintaining Compliance Can Safeguard Your Company
Take charge of your business’s compliance today with the expertise of Pearlman, Brown & Wax, LLP. Navigating the complexities of compliance can be overwhelming, but our skilled business defense lawyers are here to spearhead the effort on your behalf.
Discover peace of mind as we meticulously review your financial and accounting practices, update crucial policies and training materials, and provide invaluable advice on addressing any pending legal matters. By ensuring your policies are compliant, you’re not just meeting legal standards – you’re actively safeguarding your company’s future.
Contact Pearlman, Brown & Wax, LLP now to take proactive steps towards compliance excellence. Let us be your partners in securing a strong foundation for your business. Call us today and empower your business for success.