You rely on your Georgia employment law attorney for countless tasks, solid legal advice, and assistance in resolving employment-related disputes. Just as you delegate authority to various professionals regarding other business operations, you know the importance of obtaining knowledgeable input and counsel on legal matters. Your focus should be on the day-to-day duties involved with running your company, planning for the future, and other issues within your own area of expertise.
However, you will greatly benefit from knowing some of the basic laws that impact the employer-employee relationship. You protect your company’s interests and support other aspects of business operations when you stay on top of potential regulatory issues or disputes. Therefore, here are 6 employment laws every Georgia employer should understand.
- Wage and Hour Requirements: Georgia wage and hour laws set the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour for some employers. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires most companies to comply with the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. The key is whether an employee is covered by enterprise or individual coverage, and the criteria encompass almost any organization that engages in interstate commerce.
- Basic Employment Contract Laws: While Georgia is generally an employment at-will state, some companies opt to retain executives and key employees via agreement. It is important to understand the fundamental requirements of a contract, including offer, acceptance, and mutual consideration. These concepts may apply to:
- Employment agreements;
- Severance agreements;
- Some employee handbooks and manuals;
- Executive compensation; and
- Bonus and commission practices.
- Statutes on Restrictive Covenants: Georgia laws generally disfavor any contract that limits an employee’s ability to engage in career opportunities after leaving the employment of another company. Other restrictive covenants on nondisclosure, confidential information, and misappropriation of trade secrets are enforceable under certain circumstances. You should understand how restrictive covenants protect your business, and count on an attorney for details.
- Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, other federal laws, and numerous Georgia statutes protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. Through documented anti-discrimination policies, you create expectations and accountability, thereby reducing the potential for disputes.
- Family and Medical Leave Matters: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to allow employees time off work for an illness, disability, to care for a family member, or under other circumstances designated by the statute. While a company does not have to pay the worker during the period of leave, it is necessary to return the employee to the same or similar position.
- Retaliation and Whistleblower Laws: It is unlawful for a company to take adverse action against an employee for participating in protected activities, such as filing a workers’ comp claim, reporting harassment, or filing a discrimination charge. Retaliation laws also cover scenarios where a worker reports employer misconduct to government agencies, so business owners should also be aware of how whistleblower laws work.
Trust Our Georgia Employment Law Attorney to Handle the Details
When you have a basic grasp of these and other important employment laws, you are in a better position to prevent compliance issues, diffuse disputes, and avoid expensive, time-consuming litigation. However, you will still need experienced legal representation for the details. Our team at the Vaughn Law Firm is prepared to support you with employment law matters, including the above topics and many others.
To learn more about our legal services, please call 877.615.9495 or go online to set up a free consultation at our offices in Decatur, GA. Our employment law attorneys can advise you once we review your circumstances and business objectives.