California is among the states that see a higher-than-average number of federal class actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and these types of cases outnumber all other private class actions in this area of the law. Surprisingly, many of the FLSA and other employment cases stem from a lack of knowledge and compliance with employment laws by employers.
The five employment laws that are most often violated by employers are:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, pay and other categories on the basis of race, religion, sex and national origin. This is also the law that prohibits sexual harassment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to disregard an individual's disability if they can perform the essential duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to give employees with at least one year of service up to 12 weeks of leave for events such as illness, including the illness of a child, spouse or parent and the birth or adoption of a child. All organizations with more than 50 employees are covered by this law.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers from discriminating against job-seekers and employees older than 40 because of their age.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to obey minimum wage laws and pay hourly workers (non-exempt employees) time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 in a week.
Employers who fail to obey these laws can find themselves facing lawsuits around overtime pay, sexual harassment, age discrimination and other types of discrimination and FMLA refusals. Even though these laws are well-known, employers continue to violate them, oftentimes unknowingly but sometimes deliberately.
Source: Business Management Daily, "Business alert: The 10 employment laws every manager should know," Apr. 4, 2012.