Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC | attorneys at law

3 employment laws that only apply to bigger companies

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Business & Commercial Law

Employers bringing in new talent have many issues to consider. They need to select the right candidate for an open position and then negotiate appropriate contract terms with that professional. They may need to provide certain accommodations or offer specialized training.

Exactly what supports a company must provide and what laws it must conform to depend in part on the number of employees working at the company. Several of the most important and costly federal employment statutes only apply to businesses that meet minimum standards regarding the number of employees they have on payroll.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

Since its passage decades ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has protected employees from disability discrimination. Businesses generally have an obligation to provide basic workplace accommodations for workers who have disabling medical conditions. However, the obligation to accommodate a worker only applies if the company has 15 or more employees. Small businesses may not be able to afford the accommodations requested by workers and are therefore not subject to the same rules under the ADA.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

Not all employers offer paid leave, and even those who do may offer a minimal amount of paid time off. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects the right of a worker to take unpaid time away from their job if they have a medical issue. Welcoming a child to the family or caring for an immediate family member could also justify an extended unpaid leave of absence. For a small company with only two or three employees, an extended employee absence could cause a host of operational challenges and expenses. Currently, the FMLA typically only applies to private-sector employers with 50 or more workers.

The Affordable Care Act

Many of the regulations established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) specifically apply to individuals and insurance providers. However, the law does include rules that create certain obligations for larger employers. The potential requirement to offer health insurance as outlined under the ACA only applies to companies with 50 or more employees.

Successful small businesses and professional practices can potentially hire some workers without being subject to these complex and potentially costly federal regulations. Learning more about employment laws can be crucial for the protection of those running or trying to start a business. Proactive compliance with federal employment statutes – at least, the ones that apply to any particular company – can help prevent costly litigation filed by unhappy employees.