Human Resources Laws Compliance

Organizations need to comply with human resources laws. Employees are not exempted.

The employment arena is an area where laws play an important role. These laws regulate the relationship between employees and employers. Both parties, particularly employers need to take these into consideration when making plans.

Some consider laws as restrictive and burdensome. But we cannot do without laws otherwise chaos reigns in the workplace, and employees cannot work in harmony.

HR laws are intended to bring about harmonious working relationships between various parties at the workplace.

Enacted laws are not the only laws. Industrial court judges create laws when they make rulings on cases brought before them. There are more laws as the result of decided cases than enacted laws. Some parties are unhappy about this since judges are not law makers.

Interpretation of employment laws by the courts can have wide-ranging effects on organizations and employment and on workers.

Minimum Terms and Conditions

The court's awards indicate minimum terms and conditions of employment. These are created by federal or state industrial tribunals.

Keeping watch on new industrial tribunal's decisions will keep organizations up-to-date on changes in the laws. These decisions may have a bearing on organization's relationship with employees.

The Common Law

This is case law developed by the court system as compared to enacted laws.

Many court decisions are related to human resources laws.

Subscribe for a labor law journal to keep up-to-date with all relevant laws. This is to ensure no important decisions are overlooked, thus avoiding liabilities.

Recruitment and Selection

Find out in which areas potential legal issues may arise such as in anti-discrimination laws.

Where deemed necessary, retain the service of a competent industrial lawyer.

Potential Discriminative Acts and Decisions

Organizations may fail to comply with anti-discrimination laws such as those that follow:

  • Human Right and Equal Opportunities Commission Act
  • Racial Discrimination Act
  • Sex Discrimination Act
  • Disability Discrimination Act
and others.

The list of such laws varies from country to country. International labor laws may also affect your organization. Get to know these, too.

Job Advertisement

Human Resources laws may also govern recruitment policies. Anti-discrimination laws specify the format of job advertisements especially in the wordings used.

Advertisement is based on a precise job description. It is not advisable to use an old version of job descriptions. Any inaccuracy in an advertisement invites problems.

Refer to samples used by other organizations. But do not reproduce them word by word.

Job Application Form

A potential area for discrimination is on age, marital status, physical and mental capacity, criminal convictions that are spent and references to previous employment.

The Job Interview

Have a ready–compiled up-to-date job description at hand when you conduct the interview. Make a comprehensive note of the interview for reference. If a problem comes up later you can use this information.

Occupational Health and Safety Requirements

One of the requirements of Human Resources laws concerns health and safety at the workplace.

This is governed by provisions of Occupational Health and Safety Acts.

Legislation relating to occupational safety and health is very important. Your organization needs to follow it.

It begs the question whether or not your organization's premises are easily accessible, whether there are procedures that ensure the health and safety of employees and other people.

Click here for info on "OSHA" (Occupational Safety and Health Act). It is necessary for organizations to comply with the requirements of OSHA.


Dismissal is the area where the courts are very interested. It is the management action that has the most drastic effect on the livelihood of employees.

Pay more attention to this matter because of the bad publicity generated by it and the potential destructive effect.

Potential Legal Action

Note that legal action may ensue in the following instances.

  1. Serious breach of the contract by employee.
  2. Breach of express or implied terms entitling employer to terminate contract by way of notice or payment of salary in lieu.
  3. The law provides that the employer cannot terminate the employee's service at will. The employment contract can only be terminated for reasonable cause.
  4. Dismissal due to redundancy or retrenchment.
  5. Not following procedures for termination
  6. Unlawful termination or wrongful termination.
  7. Summary dismissal or termination without notice in cases of:
  8. • Misconduct
    • Criminal behavior
    • Absenteeism
  9. Insufficient Notice of Dismissal or Termination
  10. Give sufficient notice based on the appointment letter, accepted policy of the company, or according to employment legislation.
  11. Unlawful termination that you must avoid at all cost.
  12. • Constructive dismissal
    • Termination without cause

Rights of the Employee

Human Resources laws do provide for protection for employees.

  • Common law action for wrongful dismissal. One instance of this is termination with insufficient notice.
  • Statutory action for unfair dismissal. A case in point is not giving any reason for termination.

The employer’s right to ‘hire and fire’ is limited. The courts can examine such action for unfairness.

Your organization cannot terminate an employee “at will” which means at its whims and fancies.

As an employer, give reason for dismissing an employee.

Do not fail to give warning to your employees for under-performance, non-performance or undesirable conduct. Tell them clearly that this may result in dismissal if not put right.

But afford your employees protection of the law of natural justice.

Administer your employee disciplinary rules and regulations well to maintain workplace control and to demonstrate that you are a fair employer to both good and problematic employees.


Retrenchments are dismissal due to commercial and economic considerations. Give sufficient notice to the effected employees.

Understanding How Laws are Made

Human resources laws govern most aspects of the employment relationships. These form part of all the laws in a country, a state within a country or a group of countries.

Adherence to human resources laws, other rules, and procedures affecting employment and workforce goes a long way in ensuring your protection from the long arm of the law.

Strategic human resource management means that your organization need to manage its people in accordance with the human resources laws currently in force in the host country. Or in the country or countries where your organization is currently carrying out its activities.

For example, the European Parliament makes or amends laws meant for member-countries of the European Union (EU) and relationship with the rest of the world.

The European Court of Justice interprets and enforces the laws. The laws include those concerning workers and employment.

Click here for info on the EU Law Making Process.

The law-making process may vary in some way from country to country.

Much of the legislation and decisions of the courts touch on human resources laws.

The objectives are mostly the same among which is the imposition of principles of law governing the employer-employee relationship.

The Making of Laws including Human Resources Laws

In the United States of America, a federal system of government, laws are either made by states or Congress. Much of these cover employment. Click HERE to understand how laws are made in the US.

Other countries have enacted laws that they believe are suitable under the prevailing conditions.

It is good to have at least a working knowledge how laws are made. By doing this, you ensure that your organization will carry out its activities within the law especially human resources laws.

In addition, a globalized business is required to follow the human resources laws in its adopted country or countries.

This will save you time and money, and avoid damage to its good image or threatened closure.

It can help in the very survival of your organization.

Employment Laws in the Country Where Your Organization Conducts Activities

The way you recruit, manage, control and discipline employee is subject to the laws currently in effect in the country where your organization operates.

Laws differ from country to country. Organizations need to get acquainted well with these laws to ensure compliance. There is no other option but to comply if you want to avoid prosecution.

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