In today’s competitive and fast-paced business environment, organizations are often challenged to find the time, resources, and budget to address compliance risks. As a result, many companies struggle with staying up-to-date on compliance requirements and best practices that could impact their organization. These challenges are especially prevalent in the manufacturing industry, where workplaces constantly evolve while remaining highly regulated. The duality of these factors creates an ideal environment for potential pitfalls when it comes to labor laws. If you work in manufacturing or any other business sector, you must understand the importance of adhering to all labor law regulations and best practices.
Ensure Equal Employment Opportunities
As an employer, you are responsible for following all federal and state employment laws related to equal employment opportunities (EEO) to prevent discrimination in the workplace. You must avoid discriminating against employees based on protected characteristics, such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age. You also need to know what constitutes illegal retaliation against an employee who has lodged a complaint or otherwise engaged in protected activity related to EEO. It’s important to establish best practices to create a culture of compliance and inclusion. It’s not enough to just have policies and procedures in place; employees must be aware of them and buy-in to the overall goals. Include compliance in your onboarding process and new hire orientation program by empowering new employees to ask questions.
Establish a Culture of Compliance
You can’t simply implement policies and procedures and leave it at that when it comes to compliance. You must establish a culture of compliance where employees are actively engaged in adhering to best practices and identifying potential pitfalls. You must create a culture of collaboration where employees feel empowered to speak up and ask questions. To get started, assess your current operations and identify any potential risks related to compliance. You can then prioritize and create an action plan to address each area of concern. This can include updating or creating new policies and procedures, training employees on compliance best practices, and establishing internal communication channels where employees can easily share ideas and ask questions.
Monitor Employees’ Off-duty Conduct
When employees are hired, you have an obligation to know everything about them, including their off-duty conduct. This may sound excessive, but it’s an important factor to consider when hiring individuals who may have access to sensitive information. The concern for employers is that an employee’s off-duty behavior could directly impact their on-the-job performance. For example, an employee who has a history of driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving could pose an immediate threat to themselves, their co-workers, and the public. While many employers have implemented strict off-duty conduct policies in recent years, there are several things you can do to protect your organization while also upholding the rights of employees.
Adherence to Safety Regulations
Manufacturing, especially on a large scale, is a risky business. However, several skilled employees on the shop floor carefully follow standard safety procedures designed to protect themselves and others from injury. The workplace is a much different environment than it was several years ago. It’s essential to understand and adhere to safety regulations with regard to employee training, communication, and the equipment used on the shop floor. For starters, you must be aware of the major safety and health regulations that impact your operation. Conduct an audit of your workplace and ensure compliance with safety regulations related to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), machine guarding, fall protection, electrical, confined spaces, and other areas.
Ensure Fair Working Conditions and Compensation
Labor laws and regulations protect employees from unfair working conditions and compensation. When hiring employees and creating job descriptions, include language that outlines expectations and potential compensation. For example, if an employee is expected to work 10 hours a day or overtime, include that in their job description. Employees must know what is expected of them to decide whether the job is a good fit for them.
Wage and Hour Practices
Wage and hour practices have always been crucial to labor laws and regulations. Employers must be mindful of all federal and state wage and hour laws, including minimum wage, overtime pay, and the frequency of paydays. In particular, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that all employees be compensated for time worked. This includes both full-time and part-time workers. Moreover, paying employees “off the books” is unlawful, or not recording hours worked is unlawful. Ensure your employees are keeping track of their working hours accurately every day. Time clock cards are a simple and effective way of monitoring employees’ working hours. Employers also have a legal obligation to pay employees at least minimum wage, which varies by state. You must also understand the varying state laws surrounding overtime. While most employers are familiar with the FLSA’s overtime requirements, states have the authority to impose additional or different requirements. It’s important to thoroughly research state wage and hour laws and ensure your organization is compliant.
Organizations are having trouble finding time, resources, and funding to address compliance risks in today’s competitive business environment. Many companies are behind on complying with compliance requirements and best practices. However, to avoid problems with the state, it’s important to ensure your business complies with labor laws to operate smoothly.