Secrist, A-J. “The Link between Risk Management and Compliance.” Compliance, Corporate Governance, Enterprise Risk Management PCGC 30 Oct 2013. Web. 15 May 2016.
Regulatory compliance is a heavy burden on small businesses. Small businesses recognize the importance of limiting risk, but a surprising number of business owners neglect to understand the requirements they have under State and Federal law. In fact, many Utah small business owners are so busy putting out fires as they happen that they are just hoping no “surprise” legal issues are waiting for them down the road. Small businesses have to accept the compliance burden. Facing the compliance requirements head on will eliminate putting out daily fires! Here are just a few of the legal compliance issues that small business owners should be concerned about:
- Sexual Harassment
- Wage and Hour
- HIPPA (applies to health care facilities)
- Wrongful Termination
- Permits and Licenses
- Workplace Safety and OSHA
- Workplace rules
Violations in the workplace can be minimized. When a violation occurs, it is harmful to everyone involved, including the Utah small business owner. Investigating and resolving complaints is costly. Internal conflict can lead to low morale and lower productivity. Damage done to your company’s reputation can be irreparable. Business owners can build goodwill and limit liability risk by taking proactive measures to prevent such violations. Contact Dana Ball by sending us a message to reduce your liability by ensuring your business is in compliance with Federal and State laws.
Enforcing Zero Tolerance for Workplace Harassment, Retaliation and Discrimination
Most people think employment discrimination and sexual harassment are not problems in Utah. Without the proper policies and procedures, however, and without proactively ensuring that harassment and discrimination do not occur, it can be a problem anywhere.
Dana Ball has spent years handling employment issues which has allowed her to develop a great deal of insight and skill representing plaintiffs as well as offering employee legal advice for employers. If you are a small business who wants legal advice to keep sexual harassment and discrimination out of your workplace, contact us.
Dana Ball offers a variety of services to help small businesses set up policies and processes to prevent discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. She helps employers write employee handbooks to educate their employees about standards of acceptable behavior, resources for resolving disputes as soon as they arise, how management should respond when issues are brought to their attention, and offers experienced guidance pointing out common enforcement pitfalls. Dana Ball will assess your existing situation and develop clear recommendations to reduce your exposure to liability. Most of the time, if both employees and managers receive the right training and the right policies and regulations, and dispute resolution mechanisms are in place, workplace discrimination and sexual harassment complaints can be avoided.
Are you following the rules you already have in place?
Sometimes small business owners purchase a pre-written handbook or policy and procedure manual, ask their employees to read and sign off that they understand it, but then do not actually handle workplace issues under the requirements of these pre-written handbooks or policy manuals. Other times we find small businesses using old and outdated manuals. Dana Ball will customize your policies and procedures to fit your business and your management style so it will be easier to ensure you are following the current rules you set up in the first place.
Ongoing Training is Essential
Regular trainings help remind employees exactly what your workplace rules are and how you expect you and your staff to handle themselves. Dana Ball provides affordable workshops and guidance on how to conduct a fair investigation, how to correctly document a claim, how to treat the accused and the accuser without bias, how to restore a healthy work environment and how to encourage employees to come forward if they feel harassment or a workplace rule violation is happening. Ongoing trainings are worth the investment. Send us a message to incorporate the trainings Dana Ball will handle for your Utah small business.
What you need to know about Utah Wage and Hour Investigations
The Utah Division of Anti-discrimination and Labor Commission (“the Commission”) investigates wage claims of $50 to $10,000 and can assess a 5 percent penalty of the unpaid wages. The penalty is assessed daily, until paid, for up to 20 days (UT Code Sec. 34-28-9). The Commission has the authority to investigate the claim, hold hearings, and issue orders requiring an employer to pay. In addition to obtaining the wages owed, the Commission can also assess a penalty against the employer.
Utah state law requires employers to keep an accurate record of time worked and wages paid each pay period. The Commission has the authority to enter any place of employment during business hours to inspect an employer’s records and ensure compliance (UT Code Sec. 34-28-10).
Under Utah’s Labor Code (UT Code Sec. 34A-1-405), employers must provide all books, records, and payrolls that show the amount of wage expenditure, for the purpose of ascertaining:
- The correctness of the wage expenditure
- The number of individuals employed
- Other information that the Commission may find useful
Failure to submit any books, records, or payrolls that the Commission requests in writing carries a $100 penalty for each offense.
Enforcement and Penalties for Non-Compliance with HIPPA Privacy and Security Rules
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) required the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop regulations protecting the privacy and security of certain health information. To fulfill this requirement, HHS published what are commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule. The Privacy Rule, or Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, establishes national standards for the protection of certain health information. The Security Standards for the Protection of Electronic Protected Health Information (the Security Rule) establish a national set of security standards for protecting certain health information that is held or transferred in electronic form. The Security Rule operationalizes the protections contained in the Privacy Rule by addressing the technical and non-technical safeguards that organizations called “covered entities” must put in place to secure individuals’ “electronic protected health information” (e-PHI). Within HHS, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has responsibility for enforcing the Privacy and Security Rules with voluntary compliance activities and civil money penalties.
Who must be in compliance with the HIPPA Privacy and Security Rules?
Covered entities are defined in the HIPAA rules as (1) health plans, (2) health care clearinghouses, and (3) health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with transactions for which HHS has adopted standards. Thus, even if you are a small doctor’s office with only 5 employees, you are still required to comply with HIPPA Privacy and Security rules. Send Dana Ball a message for help in developing policies and procedures to ensure you are in compliance with HIPPA. Dana can also perform a risk analysis for your small business.
Under the OSHA law, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.
Here are some of your responsibilities as a Utah small business owner:
- Examine workplace conditions to make sure they conform to applicable OSHA standards.
- Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.
- Use color codes, posters, labels or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
- Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.
- Keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses. (Note: Employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in certain low-hazard industries are exempt from this requirement).
- Correct cited violations by the deadline set in the OSHA citation and submit required abatement verification documentation.
- OSHA encourages all employers to adopt an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, known by a variety of names, are universal interventions that can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and alleviate the associated financial burdens on U.S. workplaces.