HR Essentials | Compliance | Benefits

Take an end-to-end approach to managing HR compliance

December 1, 2021 · 2 min read

Best practices from our HR experts

Maintaining compliance across HR functions is critical to success. At the same time, it’s a tremendous challenge, especially for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). Losing track of HR compliance can lead to significant fines, damages employee morale and company culture, and could even force you out of business.

1. Recruiting

HR compliance considerations begin as soon as you start recruiting for new hires. This is especially true as increasing numbers of companies operate across multiple states or localities, either in-person or remote.

Be aware that certain states require wage ranges or pay bands to be disclosed at varying stages of the recruitment process and under varying conditions. In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits language in a job posting that encourages a candidate of a particular protected class to apply or discourages another. The EEOC also prohibits recruiting in a discriminatory fashion. Many state and local laws have similar or more expansive protections against discrimination in recruiting.

2. Interviewing and Hiring

Interviewing is another area that has come under increased scrutiny. Questions should stay focused on work experience and skills with no questions about age, religion, marital status, disability or other protected classes. In addition, the “Ban the Box” movement has led many states and localities to prohibit asking an applicant about their criminal background at certain stages of the hiring process. Many states and localities also have bans on inquiring about wage history.

It’s also important to document that you interviewed a diverse pool of applicants and based your hiring decision on bona fide skills and qualifications to help protect against a discrimination lawsuit. If you require a job-related test during the interview process, it must be one that does not cause a discriminatory impact in any way. If you intend to use background checks, drug screens or other pre-employment screening, it’s best practice to conduct these screens once you’ve extended a conditional offer of employment. Some states or localities make this sequence a requirement.