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As a small business owner, it’s important to be aware of the labor laws that apply to you and your employees. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and violating labor laws can result in costly fines. In this blog post, we will discuss six of the most important labor laws that every small business should know about.

1. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

FLSA is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards. The FLSA applies to all businesses with employees who are engaged in interstate commerce or who produce goods for interstate commerce. It entails that nonexempt employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, and overtime pay must be provided for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Business owners are encouraged to use technologies such as a biometric time clock to safely keep track of the number of hours that employees have worked.

2. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

NLRA is a federal law that protects the rights of employees to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. It states that employees have the right to engage in “concerted activity” for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. It also prohibits employers from engaging in certain activities that would interfere with these rights, such as making threats or promising benefits in exchange for not joining a union.

3. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

OSHA is a federal law that requires employers to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees with industry-specific guidance such as OSHA confined space rescue documentation. It captures work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Employers must also comply with OSHA standards and regulations, which set forth specific requirements for safety and health in the workplace. It also outlines the compensation that an employer must provide to an employee who is injured or becomes ill as a result of their job.

4. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA is a federal law that provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. These include the birth or adoption of a child. FMLA applies to all businesses with 50 or more employees. Employees who are eligible for FMLA leave are entitled to continue their health insurance coverage during their leave.

5. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including employment, transportation, and public accommodations. The ADA applies to all businesses with 15 or more employees. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the business.

6. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

ADEA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against employees who are 40 years of age or older. It applies to all businesses with 20 or more employees. Employers may not discriminate against employees in hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation based on age. Huge penalties apply in case of violation.

Consequences of violating laws

Violating any of the above-mentioned labor laws can result in costly penalties. The Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for enforcing most of these laws, and they have the authority to impose fines on businesses that violate them. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the ADA, ADEA, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and they can also impose fines on businesses that violate these laws. In addition, employees who have been the victims of discrimination may file lawsuits against their employers, which can result in significant damages awards.

To avoid violating any labor laws, small businesses need to consult with an attorney or other knowledgeable advisor about their specific obligations under the law. They should also have a clear policy in place that complies with all applicable laws, and make sure that their employees are aware of these policies. By taking these steps, small businesses can avoid the costly penalties associated with violating labor laws.


These are six important labor laws that every small business owner should be aware of. Violating any of these laws can result in costly fines, so it’s important to make sure you are in compliance. If you have any questions about these laws or need assistance with compliance, please contact an experienced employment law attorney.