Follow Benton Linkedin Twitter
Email Benton Email
Legal Issues
Feb 15, 2015

What You Need To Know As You Grow: More Employees = More Regulation

Sponsored Content provided by Benton Toups - Attorney, Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP

When I am approached by a new business client with an employment issue, one of the first questions I ask is, “How many employees do you have?” I ask this because many of the various employment laws kick in only once a business reaches a certain size. For instance, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the statute which created the classic sexual harassment claim, applies only to employers with 15 or more employees. That in no way implies that sexual harassment in a 14-employee shop is a good idea (it most certainly is not), but many are surprised to know it also might not be illegal. 

Below is a breakdown of what employment laws apply as a business’ number of employees increases:

One employee:

  • Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping)
  • N.C. Wage and Hour Act (pay deductions, vacation pay, wage payment)
Three employees:
  • North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (including requirement to carry workers’ compensation insurance)
15 employees:
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination/harassment on the basis of race, sex, religion, color or national origin)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (prohibiting discrimination against qualified, disabled individuals, and in some cases requiring that accommodations be made for such individuals)
20 employees:
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (prohibiting discrimination against individuals age 40 and over)
50 employees:
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (allowing for protected leave under certain circumstances, most commonly for serious health conditions)
  • Affordable Care Act (requiring an offer of coverage to avoid penalties; this starts in 2016)
100 employees:
  • Affordable Care Act (requiring an offer of coverage to avoid penalties; this starts in 2015)
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all laws and regulations governing the employer-employee relationship, but this list does illustrate the point that the considerations for a three-person shop are vastly different from those of a 103-person shop. 

Keeping that in mind, here are some pointers that will help your business stay compliant:
  1. Have your “ducks in a row” before you cross the applicable thresholds. For instance, employers who are FMLA covered (50 or more employees) must maintain a written FMLA policy. A week after hiring the fiftieth employee is not the best time to start working on such a policy.
     
  2. Look for “stragglers” on the payroll. Do you have employees who haven’t actually worked for six months but who are still technically on the list of employees? If so, they may be subjecting your business to laws it otherwise would not be subjected to if they were eliminated from the payroll list.
     
  3. If you’ve experienced significant growth since you last had your employee handbook reviewed, have a professional look at it. 
For businesses experiencing growth, a minimal investment in hiring an attorney to review current policies and practices will cost a little now, but it will almost certainly same money in the long run.

This content has been prepared for general information purposes only. This information is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. The information provided cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel by a licensed attorney in your state.

Benton L. Toups is a partner at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP and serves as vice-chair of the Employment Law Practice Group. His practice concentrates on representing businesses in all aspects of labor and employment law. A firm believer in the adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Toups counsels employers on day-to-day issues and assists them in developing and implementing policies to avoid employment litigation. To contact Toups, call (910) 777-6011 or email him at [email protected].

Wbj insights revised 0510
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Leath 683x10242

How to Avoid A Nightmare Holiday Party

Lisa Leath - Leath HR Group
Michaelhiggins 41019104338

Pre-Planning Essentials For The Frequent Traveler

Michael Higgins - Dignity Memorial
Alycephillipsnew2

Repairing Estate Planning Mistakes: There Are Ways To Clean Up A Mess

Alyce Phillips - Old North State Trust LLC

Trending News

Local Firm To Be Considered For Redevelopment Of Government Center

Cece Nunn - Jan 15, 2020

Cape Fear Industrial Complex Sells For More Than $8M

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jan 16, 2020

Developers Plan Modern Industrial Building In Pender

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jan 15, 2020

Finalists Announced For Commercial Real Estate Awards

Cece Nunn - Jan 17, 2020

22 North Works With Local Chef To Rebrand Restaurant

Jessica Maurer - Jan 15, 2020

In The Current Issue

Working As A Husband-and-wife Team

The Wilmington business owned by husband and wife Devin and Brooke Skipper began with Devin as the sole employee about eight years ago befor...


The Most Fitting Trends Take Shape

The top fitness trends have been named by the American College of Sports Medicine, and they can be seen in the Wilmington area....


Packaged For Generations

Family firm Atlantic Packaging is putting the final touches on its newly expanded headquarters and opening a new location this month. ...

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2019 Health Care Heroes
August 26, 2019 Power Breakfast: A Healthy Sale?
2019 WILMA Leadership Accelerator
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`