While an employee needs to be aware of their rights and some of the laws as an employee for a business, entity or company, a manager or supervisor needs to be aware of ALL of the legal laws and rules when it comes to labor and employment laws. Most of the companies out there work diligently and closely with Human Resources to make sure that certain laws and rules are being followed. If you are a supervisor, manager or even an assistant manager, there are certain laws that you should be aware of when it comes to employees and employment laws to ensure compliance in a company. These laws can be found below, make sure you brush up on these laws and are aware of any updates or changes in the New Year. If you are an employee reading this article and you read the information below, make sure you talk to a New Jersey employment Attorney before making any brash decisions.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
The whole purpose of this act is to keep workplace discrimination from happening. This law is only valid if an employer has 15 or more employees working for them and it specifically keeps those individuals that are under the protected categories from being discriminated against. These protected categories include discrimination against race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, origin, medical history, family medically history, genetic information, military service and political affiliation. This specific law also helps protect against harassment; sexual and otherwise in the workplace. The supervisor or managers responsibilities for this legal act means that all supervisors must treat all employees the same – equally no matter what protected category they are under. A supervisor or manager cannot base any decisions on employment when it comes to these protected categories such as hiring or firing, payments, over time, etc. Supervisor and managers also must avoid any unwelcomed harassment and should report any employee who is harassing any other employee in plain sight or is reported to have done so.
FLSA – The Fair Labor Standard Act
The purpose of this legal act is to establish which employees are salaried vs. hourly as well as decide minimum wage of an employee, over time and whether and employee is exempt or non-exempt. As of 2009 all employers must pay $7.25 per minimum wage (or more). Even if the state mandated wage is lower, they are obligated to pay the higher wage of $7.25. Most of the states in 2015 do pay over $7.25 though, so it’s sort of a win win if you are in a state where the minimum wage is less than $7.25 and you are paid hourly. It should be noted however, that there is an exception to the rule. If you are a tipped employee, such as a waitress/waiter, bartender, busboy/busgirl, etc. you are only required to be paid $2.13 according to federal wages. However, as stated on the FLSA website “if a tipped employee’s average wage — including tips — falls below the $7.25 minimum, the employer has to make up the difference.” Hourly employees can also get over time, except this time it’s mandatory, and it’s 1.5 times their usual regular hourly wage. This law also indicates pay for overtime, training, travel time and more. Supervisors and managers need to act in accordance with the law when it comes to regular pay as well as overtime pay. They will be responsible for making sure that all employees both exempt and non-exempt will have their hours recorded and reported accordingly.
FMLA – The Family and Medical Leave Act
This act helps protect employees when they have to leave their job for specific medical or family reasons. The Family and Medical Leave Act says that an employee that worked at least 1250 hours in 12 months, and one who has worked at a business with over 50 employs is allowed to take a protected leave for medical or family reasons. The act also states that the employee IS allowed to stay on group health insurance with the same terms and coverage as when they were not on leave. When an employee requests time off because of family or medical reasons, the Supervisor or manager has to immediately report it to human Resources. It’s also a big responsibility for Supervisors and Managers to listen to the needs of employees and listen to requests for leave. An employee does not and should not have to say they want an FMLA leave in order to be protected under the law. If an employee does take time off, a Supervisor should keep in contact with said employee and report back to human Resources with any updated information such as any changes or updates.
ADA – The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act is an act that protects one of the protected categories – disabled individuals. It keeps harassment and discrimination of individuals with disabilities protected. When it comes to a Supervisor or manager, they must recognize the need for accommodation (within reason) for that employee. A Supervisor of course will play a huge role in accommodating an employee and these accommodations should be discussed via the Supervisor and the employee or potential employee if they have not been hired yet. Supervisors and Managers will also need to work closely with Human Resources to make sure that any on the job situations are under par with the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance process.