Tips for Small Business Owners in Phoenix, AZ

Partnership Disputes

Compliance Tips for Small Business Owners in Phoenix, AZ

If you own a small business, you’re well aware of the complexity of state and federal labor laws, and the liability they pose if you’re not compliant. When you consult a small business attorney in Phoenix, AZ, about employment law compliance you’re protecting both your business and your employees. At Anthony Law Group we maintain a team of small business lawyers that offer the following tips for HR compliance and other compliance challenges.

Why Consult an Attorney?

Whether accidental or intentional, failing to comply with labor laws leaves you vulnerable to expensive fines and lawsuits. Keeping track of every aspect can feel overwhelming, especially when law isn’t your area of study. By regularly consulting a professional familiar with Arizona labor laws, you can protect both your business and your employees.

Tips for Staying Compliant With Arizona Labor Laws

To stay compliant with federal and local employment laws implement the following strategies. You should also frequently consult your small business attorney to help navigate the following laws:

  • Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
  • The Civil Rights Act (especially Title VII outlining age discrimination)
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • The Employees Rights Acts of 1996 and 2017
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • Employment Act of 1946

Ignore Biasing Factors

When searching for a new employee, it is  ill-advised to ask inappropriate interview questions and/or to focus on things that can create a bias , because you cannot use this type of information to inform your hiring decision. Without staying proactive, you can allow these factors to subtly influence your decision and leave yourself vulnerable to lawsuits from new hires.

When you hire employees, avoid mentioning or considering whether any of the following examples affect the person’s qualifications:

  • Race, skin tone, ethnicity, or national origin
  • Religious practices or spiritual beliefs
  • Sex or gender identity, including sexual orientation or the potential for pregnancy

Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers with at least 15 employees must provide reasonable accommodations for workers with any of the following considerations:

  • Disabilities: Disabilities include mental and physical conditions that prevent people from adequately performing certain jobs. A reasonable accommodation may include modifying job tasks, more flexible work hours, or providing special equipment.
  • Religious beliefs: While you can’t base your hiring decisions on a person’s religious beliefs, you must still allow things such as breaks for Muslims who must pray frequently or excuse them from tasks that violate their beliefs.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women or new parents might require more flexible schedules or more ergonomic equipment to help deal with the stress pregnancy puts on their bodies.
  • Medical conditions: If your employee develops cancer or needs time off to recover from surgery, you should consult with your attorney about what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation.

To protect both yourself and your employees, always document the accommodations you make.

Establish Anti-Discrimination Policies

Instead of addressing discrimination and harassment after it becomes a problem, establish policies early on. The policy should include definitions and examples of discriminatory and harassing behavior, how to report it, and the associated disciplinary procedure.

Policies should remain accessible in the employee handbook. You should also post information about them in the employee break room.

Monitor and Pay Minimum Wage

While the federal minimum wage has stayed consistent since 2009, the start of 2024 saw 20 states update their labor practices concerning wages. This includes Arizona, which, under the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, increased the lowest possible wage to $14.35.

Proactively monitor these changes to stay informed of the laws and regulations dealing with how you pay your workers. Cities also have the authority to raise wages for employees at local levels. You should also monitor hour laws that dictate employee overtime wages and how you pay independent contractors, deal with federal contracts, and more.

Implement Benefits

One of the more important aspects of employment law compliance is ensuring your HR leaders handle benefits correctly. Labor law dictates employers of certain sizes provide the following employee benefits:

  • Retirement plans, like 401k matching
  • Family medical leave
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Fringe benefits, such as paid time off or sick days

Seek legal counsel to determine the benefits you must provide to comply with employment laws.

Consider the Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act is one of the more important federal laws that protect employees from wage discrimination based on gender. Many employers summarize it by saying, “equal pay for equal work.” To avoid potential violations, make sure you pay workers the same amount for comparable work.

Create a Safe Environment

As an employer, one of your more important obligations, and one area where many employers struggle with compliance, is providing a safe workplace for employees. Stay aware of workplace safety regulations and ensure they’re followed by employees, maintenance, and your HR department.

Educate Employees

All the human resource regulations can feel overwhelming for employees, but employers who frequently educate their employees about proper procedures can have fewer instances of violations. A compliant employer should prioritize educating new employees but should also conduct yearly seminars on HR compliance and regularly update the employee handbook.

Proactively Discuss Regulations

To help improve the consistency of your HR compliance, consider joining some regulatory forums or organizations to help stay ahead of changes and avoid violations.

Prioritize Diversity

Employers who prioritize diversity leave themselves less vulnerable to lawsuits from former employees. Plus, in the coming years, you may see more laws dealing with employment diversity. While you shouldn’t hire based on national origin, for better HR compliance, ensure you have a wide range of skills, qualifications, and employment opportunities.

Consult the Experienced Employment Law Attorneys

When you want the confidence of knowing that you are in good compliance with key employment laws, reach out to Anthony Law Group. We help small businesses understand the basic requirements of employment laws. From knowing how to handle benefits for remote employees to navigating hiring laws, we work diligently to answer all your questions and address your concerns.

To schedule a consultation with a small business attorney, call 602-362-2396.

Fields marked with an * are required

Anthony Law Group

Anthony Law Group