Per your request, I was delegated the duty of developing the Employment Law Compliance Plan for Bradley Stonefield and his limousine company. Based on the meeting notes, Mr. Stonefield wants to operate a limousine company in Austin, Texas and to have at least 25 employees working for him within the first year. To ensure the success of Mr. Stonefield’s business, I have developed an employment law compliance plan that he should follow.
This communication serves as confirmation of the employment laws that are relevant to Mr. Stonefield’s business. It will also provide how the employment laws should be executed and the consequences of noncompliance. This memo will give information regarding federal employment laws and regulations specific to Texas. The laws that will be discussed are The Texas Minimum Wage Law, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, The American with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
The Texas Minimum Wage Law
Texas implemented the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour in July 24, 2009. Another provision of the law allows automatic increases in the minimum wage amount when the rate of the federal rate increases. The law also mandates employers provide its employees a paycheck statement, which shows the number of hours an employee has worked (including overtime), the amount of pay they received, and any deductions. The Texas Minimum Wage Law aims to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and equally, regardless of where he or she may fall on the pay scale.
Mr. Stonefield’s limousine company can comply with the Texas Minimum Wage Law by ensuring payroll is processed correctly. Additionally, the company should save records of all payroll, for the mandated period, for future references and ensure that the pay rates comply with the minimum wage law. Mr. Stonefield can purchase payroll specific software and individuals skilled in payroll processing to ensure compliance. The Texas Department of Labor enforces the Texas Minimum Wage Law.
Individuals of the department of labor audit businesses to confirm the business is operating according to this law. If a business is found to be noncompliant, they could be fined up to $10,000.00 and criminally prosecuted. If the business is in violation for a second time, the business owner may be imprisoned. Penalties of up to $1,100.00 per violation can be executed to employers and businesses who repeatedly violate the minimum age requirement.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination in benefits, salary, and employment for employees who are age 40 and over. However, if the employer can validate that age is an occupational qualification, this law would not apply. The law is administered and executed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and “[a] key objective of the law is to prevent financially troubled companies from singling out older employees when there are cutbacks” (Cascio, 2013, p. 109).
To comply with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Mr. Stonefield’s limousine company cannot deny employment or terminate an employee over age if the employee is of the age of 40 and over. However, if an individual lacks necessary skill functions or has poor performance, who happens to be the age of 40 or over, the company is within its limits to terminate the employee. Because age is not a determining factor, the company is justified in terminating the employee.
Noncompliance of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act can cause extensive financial damage to a company. A victim of age discrimination can obtain compensation, including attorney’s fees, court cost, and monetary compensation and punitive damages from the business. There are certain guidelines associated with the amount of compensation a victim can be awarded if age discrimination is proven. Mr. Stonefield is anticipating on employing up to 25 individuals to operate his limousine company.
According to the EEOC, employers with 15-100 employees, the limit for compensation and punitive damages is $50,000.00 per claim. Additionally, if an employer: “resist, oppose, impede, intimidate or interfere with a duly authorized representative of the [EEOC] while it is engaged in the performance of duties under [this law] shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both” (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2013, SEC. 629).
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was approved in 1990, which prohibits employers from discriminating against potential employees with disabilities. A qualified individual should be able to perform the essential duties of the job with or without accommodation. In Mr. Stonefield’s case, he would not be held responsible for not hiring a blind driver. However, if a blind individual has the qualifications to complete data entry job functions, Mr. Stonefield would need to make reasonable accommodations for the essential job functions. According to Cascio (2013, p. 111), “almost 13 percent of people ages 21 to 64 in the United States have at least one disability, a percentage that more than doubles to 30.2 percent for people ages 65 to 74”.
It is also essential for Mr. Stonefield’s limousine location to be accessible for individual with disabilities (e.g. ramps, bathroom stalls, etc.). Additionally, Mr. Stonefield is not allowed to ask or discuss a potential employees past claims or medical history, as it would be in violation of ADA. The EEOC enforces the ADA; however, there are other avenues victims can make claims of discrimination (e.g. Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice, etc.).
Violation of the ADA, in connection with the Texas Labor Code, can be subject to damages payable to victims. These damages can include back pay, punitive damages, mental anguish, and pain and suffering (State of Texas: Office of the Governor, n.d., para. 7). Caps are provided for the amount awarded to victims of such discrimination and is based on the number of employees working for the business. In Mr. Stonefield’s case, if he is found in violation of the ADA and because he has fewer than 101 employees, his cap would be $50,000.00.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1985 sets conditions around employer’s inability to hire illegal aliens. Companies can be sanctioned, and fined and the law relates to every employee. This law essential for Mr. Stonefield to adhere to, as in 2012 there were an estimated 1.7 million illegal immigrants residing in the state of Texas (SOLÍS, 2013, para. 3). In order for Mr. Stonefield to comply with this law, it is essential he verifies the identity and the work status of all of the potential employees. Typically, most companies require new hires to fill out paperwork, such as an I-9, and obtain copies of identifiable documents (e.g. license, state issued identification, Social Security card, etc.).
Companies that do not comply with this law can receive severe and harsh punishments and fines. According to Cascio, (2013, p. 110), “failure to comply with the verification rules, fines range from $100 to $1,100 for each employee whose identity and work authorization have not been verified”. Fines and penalties can range from $250.00 to $10,000.00 for each undocumented worker. Frequent or repeat offenders can be charged criminally. Texas law enforcement works with the federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act.
The employment compliance plan a general overview of the anticipated laws Mr. Stonefield’s limousine company can use to ensure the success of his business. Additionally, complying with the proposed employee compliance plan can save the company unnecessary expenses. Some of the most complicated factors in establishing compliance with these laws are understanding the laws, knowledge of how these laws can affect the business, and the consequences if they are violated. As Mr. Stonefield will be operating a new company, it may be beneficial for him to hire a compliance officer to ensure he meets the necessary guidelines.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/history/35th/1990s/ada.html
Cascio, W. F. (2013). Managing Human Resources; Productivity, Quality of Work Life, Profits. McGraw-Hill.
Solís, Dianne. (23 September 2013). Illegal immigration into Texas increasing slowly, says Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20130923-illegal-immigration-into-texas-increasing-slowly-says-pew-research-center.ece
State of Texas: Office of the Governor. (n.d.). Employment Protections. Retrieved from http://gov.texas.gov/disabilities/resources/employment_protections