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Lions and Tigers and Bears—Oh MY!

Running a business in California today is not as it used to be. There are hidden threats as well as the threats that are right in front of us. Lions, tigers and bears do not necessarily coexist in the same geographic area in the world today. However, they can coexist in a nurturing environment such as zoos and wild animal parks.

The same is true with all of the regulatory agencies when it comes to labor compliance. There is the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CalOSHA); Department of Labor (DOL); Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE); Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB); Employment Development Department (EDD); and the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) to mention some of the major regulatory agencies.  If you own a local business but have employees in other cities then municipal labor regulations also have to be followed.

Federal, state and municipal agencies dictate regulations such as how you pay employees, how and when rest periods and lunches are taken, sick pay, pay taxes, FMLA, PDL, travel pay, hiring and terminations, and employee rights. All the regulatory agencies can get along. Businesses just need to know how they intertwine and which agency has the authority to enforce regulations and enforce penalties. If you stay informed, you can ensure all the agencies play nice in their sandboxes and do not bring bad play and games into your backyard.

So, how can a business owner adhere to all of the regulations, especially when they appear to be in opposition of each other? The answer to that is, “Well that depends.”  Not all regulations and laws pertain to every business. For instance, if you are a small business you do not have to adhere to the Warn Act. However, if you own a construction company and have employees who work in San Diego, then you may have another headache to deal with—San Diego’s minimum wage and sick pay regulations, which is stricter than the state’s mandated sick pay and minimum wage.

How do businesses navigate the complicated laws and regulations when it comes to labor and employee laws when they are constantly changing? Well that depends. It depends upon your company, its structure and the number of employees. If your business has, a human resources department ensure the staff is constantly updating their knowledge on state, municipal and federal regulations. Audit your files, take a proactive approach, hire a labor attorney, or hire a consultant who is willing to delve in and work for your business’ best interests.


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