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Q&A: We are about to hire our 15th employee. I heard that some federal regulations go into effect then. What do I need to know about these?

Question:

We are about to hire our 15th employee. I heard that some federal regulations go into effect then. What do I need to know about these?

Answer from Margaret, PHR, SHRM-CP:

Once you have 15 employees, the federal laws below would apply to you. Here is a brief summary of what you need to know about them:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Protects qualified individuals with disabilities from unlawful employment discrimination, prohibits discrimination where an individual is able to perform their essential job functions, and requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals unless doing so would place an undue hardship on the employer.
  • Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA): Prohibits the use of genetic information in employment and restricts employers from requesting or requiring genetic information.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA): Protects pregnant employees from being retaliated against in any way due to pregnancy, child birth, or any related medical conditions.
  • Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act: Prohibits discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment (including pay and benefits) on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex. Note that several federal courts have ruled that sex includes sexual orientation, and one has ruled that it includes gender identity as well.

For a complete list of the different federal laws that may apply based on employee count, you can find our Federal Labor Laws by Employee Count in Organizations guide in the HR Support Center by hovering over the Documents tab, selecting Guides and then HR Administration.

Remember, there may also be additional state laws that apply as your company grows. Feel free to reach out if you would like more information about them. You can also search which state laws apply to your organization, based on your location and size, in the HR Support Center by using the Law Finder under the Laws tab.

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Margaret holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Portland State University and a Professional Certificate in Human Resources Management. She has worked in a variety of HR roles in a multi-state capacity. Margaret regularly attends seminars and other continuing education courses to stay current with new developments and changes that affect the workplace and is active in local and national Human Resources organizations.

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