Should I Consult With an Employment Attorney to Protect My Small Business?

Jan 23, 2017
By Peter Friedmann

Consulting with a Columbus, Ohio, employment attorney can save a small business owner time, money, and frustration. Many federal and state laws put into place to protect workers’ health and rights apply to all companies regardless of how many people they employ. Even if you are a smaller employer, state laws apply to your business.

Beyond statutory considerations, well-run businesses of any size also need social media policies, written documentation of rules and procedures, and advice on how to handle issues like alcohol and drug use by employees. Some businesses will also need to know how to comply with the union, federal, and state contracts; how to hire freelancers and independent contractors; and how to keep and ensure the privacy of employee records.

Dealing with an unintentional or merely alleged violation of an employment regulation can create so much disruption and financial strain that staying in operation becomes impossible. Sitting down with an employment law lawyer before starting or expanding your own Columbus business will help you focus on serving customers and growing revenues instead of fighting your way through legal proceedings.

The following table outlines several of the laws and regulations a Columbus-based employment attorney with the Friedmann Firm can explain in detail. Consultations can include discussions of best practices for compliance and advice on how to ensure employees and job candidates know you are taking every step to keep them safe, pay them adequately and avoid discrimination.

Examples of Federal and State Employment Laws That Your Small Business May Have to Comply With

Fair Labor Standards Act Minimum wage, compensation equal to a minimum hourly wage for workers who earn tips and commissions, overtime rates (e.g., time-and-a-half of the regular hourly rate), classification of employees as full-time, part-time, contract, temporary, and whether employees are eligible for overtime based on their job duties (exempt or non-exempt).


**Consult with The Friedmann Firm as to whether your business must comply with the FLSA**

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Protections from physical harm, exposure to toxic materials, and repetitive stress injuries; whistleblower protection for those who blow the whistle about violations of OSHA.
Equal Pay Act Paying all workers who are doing the same jobs the same wage or salary regardless of age, sex, or other characteristics
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) With exceptions, allowing military reservists called to active duty to return to their civilian job; also with exceptions, keeping employees called away to active duty eligible for accruing job tenure and earning leave, raises, and promotions. Cannot discriminate against an employee based on military status and/or drill obligations.

Businesses With Over 15 Employees

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Making business accessible to people with physical disabilities; providing reasonable accommodations for mental and physical disabilities when an employee or job candidate is otherwise qualified to hold a position.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Permitting no discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or national origin.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act Not reassigning, changing the pay, or altering the responsibilities of women who become pregnant or return to work after giving birth.

Businesses With 20 Employees

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) Not paying less or denying employment opportunities to people just because they are older than 40
COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) Offering employees who leave a job voluntarily or due to a layoff the opportunity to continue paying for their employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Must send a COBRA notice to the employee.

Businesses With 50 Employees

Family and Medical Leave Act Providing employees with up to 12 weeks of leave because of a serious medical condition or to care for a relative with a serious medical condition. Consult with The Friedmann Firm about what a serious medical condition is and your obligations to employees under the FMLA.
Affordable Care Act Offering employees an employer-sponsored health care plan or paying employees subsidies they can use to buy health insurance on their own.

You can request a consultation with a Columbus employment law lawyer by calling the Friedmann Firm at 614.610.9755 or completing this online contact form. Let us help you stay in compliance.