What discrimination rules apply to small businesses?

| Apr 24, 2020 | Business Litigation |

Growing a small business can mean scaling up your operations and policies as your business expands. For example, when you are the only person working at a company, you don’t need to have a discrimination policy or a harassment reporting procedure for employees to follow. 

However, as you begin to grow and employ other people, you will have to worry about potential claims that workers could make and how that could affect your business’s bottom line. There are certain things that small business owners should know in order to protect their company from discrimination allegations by employees.

The bigger you are, the more rules that will apply to you

Up until you hire someone for your company, you have no obligations to other people or risk for claims of discrimination. However, as soon as you have even one staff member, you are subject to legal requirements to pay equal wages regardless of the gender of the person that you hire. 

Once your business has 15 employees, you have to ensure that you don’t engage in discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or age. In other words, you can’t let someone’s protected characteristics, such as being over 40 years of age, influence whether you hire them, retain them as employees, promote them or increase their wages. 

Both people who work for your company and even those that you interview but don’t hire can potentially bring discrimination claims against your company. It’s important to know the laws about discrimination and to take every step possible to reduce the potential for discrimination in your employment practices. Creating a written policy could be beneficial once your company has 15 or more employees.