If you are new to Texas don’t know the laws of business, it can be easy to get caught in some of the more confusing articles of the law. Not understanding every part of the law can cause big problems, but there is hope. Many businesses that are new to the area look for PEO companies in Texas to help them understand how to best move forward in this new environment. In this article, we are going to talk to you about five common missteps in Texas legal compliance.
1. Not Hiring a Business Lawyer
Despite how small your company is, you need to have a business lawyer to walk you through every stage of your business. If you are making any moves, you want to ask their advice before moving forward. Instead of stumbling aimlessly and ending up landing in a mess of fines, you can retain a business lawyer to help you navigate the minefields that exist in business law.
2. Outdated Employee Handbook
If you are using a handbook that came with you from another state, some of the information could not be valid in Texas. Failing to put everything that you currently expect of your employees in writing is inviting trouble in to play. Changes in the law could render large parts of your handbook to be inapplicable so ensure that you have changed your handbook if the law change affected it.
Make sure to outline acceptable behavior and what is expected of employees so you can keep yourself safe. Your employees have to have easy access to a list of guidelines to which they can adhere. You want to update your employee handbook every two years, and you need to get each of your employees to assign an acknowledgment form that says they received the handbook and will abide by the policies outlined in it.
Your handbook should include things like your company’s communications policy, code of conduct, compensation, and benefits, employment and termination guidelines.
3. Terminating an Employee Without Cause
While it may seem like overkill to write down every little infraction, you need to record every violation that occurs. Accurately and thoroughly document any violation of written policies or standard operating procedures. The reason this is helpful is that when you go to terminate the employee, they will not be able to say they were unrightfully terminated. You can have evidence to support that they were terminated due to not satisfying their job description performance.
4. Failing to Keep Complete Employee Files
To stay compliant, you need to keep complete employee files accurately. You should keep proper documents in the employee performance file, but other documents that contain personal information like leave or disability forms, you should keep them in separate folders since they are not needed for employee performance management.
If you come in contact with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and you do not have proper documentation of valid I-9s, you will find that fees add up quickly.
Since there is so much to do and file regarding HR, many companies decide to use PEO companies to help them with this department or totally outsource it to a PEO of their choice. PEO companies understand the law and are more than happy to help you get your company in compliance.
5. Not Knowing Employment Laws & Regulations
Pleading ignorance is not going to prove your innocence, and that means you need to understand employment laws and regulations as well as having access to a resource that will keep you up to date as the laws change. If you do something like misclassify an employee as an independent contractor, or as being exempt from overtime when they aren’t, you will be paying for it. If you do not comply with OSHA regulations for your specific industry, you will also deal with major fines. Identify the regulatory agencies that govern your industry and discover the law requirements.
Speak with other people in your industry to find out what conferences and conventions or training they go to stay on track with the latest information and best practices. Having access to resources that will help you stay compliant is important. If you receive multiple marks against your business, the stakes could rise even higher.
Starting a business in Texas is exciting and will allow you to see great benefits if you make sure that you are compliant and follow the laws of the land. Texas has been known to be one of the best places to live with the highest quality of life due to great jobs, land, entertainment and plenty of opportunity. If you aren’t sure about doing business in Texas, you should assemble a team that knows about doing business in the area.
Having people with experience with Texas laws will keep you compliant. If you are working with a PEO and work out an agreement, you may not have to do any of the compliance work. Many times they can take care of all of these things for you, and you can focus on growing your company instead of trying to push papers and not being very good at it. Stick with what you know and help your company get to the next level while someone that knows about HR takes care of your compliance issues and makes sure you are operating legally.
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