What Are HR Hiring Laws, & What Do I Need to Know as an Employer?

HR Hiring Laws

HR hiring laws are all the different legal regulations and requirements that you need to stay on top of when hiring workers for your business.

If you want the 411 on HR hiring laws when working with freelancers, you can check out Fiverr Enterprise, a Freelancer Management Solution (FMS) that takes legal and tax compliance off your hands when adopting a freelancer strategy for your business, alongside sourcing, management, and payments. 

For more insights into the critical hiring laws that should be on your radar if you work in HR, just keep reading!

This article is part of our guide on workforce management.

Why Do HR Professionals Need Legal Knowledge?

Employment laws regulate the relationship between an employer and their employee, and as a result — HR professionals need to know their stuff. By ignoring the legal knowledge around employment laws, HR leaders can open the business up to compliance risk, or legal action. HR professionals often play an important part in ensuring laws are adhered to, from benefits payments to wage and hour laws, and knowing the facts can help make this a whole lot easier. 

Important Hiring Legal Topics

The main employment laws fall into five categories: 

  • Workplace Discrimination Laws: These prevent employers from discriminating against candidates on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, citizenship, disability, senior status, military service, bankruptcy, or genetic information. 
  • Wage and Hour Laws: Federal law sets a minimum wage per hour, but many states have their own minimum wage laws which set the amount higher. The same is true for the number of hours an employee can work per week, and overtime payments. 
  • Employee Benefits Laws: There are many benefits laws to consider, including health insurance, pension contributions, parental leave, sick pay, vacation days, and more. While these apply to all employees, they are not relevant when hiring a freelancer. 
  • Immigration Laws: This category covers whether a candidate can legally work for an employer in the United States. Employers can help candidates to apply for an employment-based immigrant VISA if they cannot work for a US company at application. 
  • Workplace Safety Laws: Employers have the responsibility of ensuring a safe workplace for all of its workers. This could include factors like installing smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in the office, or even providing ergonomic chairs for remote workers. 

Major Federal Laws Affecting Hiring Practices

Over the years, certain federal laws have been established which impact HR professionals as they implement hiring practices. Let’s look at just four of the most impactful. 

Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. As part of the civil rights act, it has since been expanded with laws prohibiting discrimination for pregnancy, disability and age (over 40). This law applies to employers who have fifteen or more employees for every working day in twenty or more weeks per year.   

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

To further support candidates with either physical or mental disabilities, in 1990 the ADA was created, and Title I is enforced by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This stops employers from discriminating against any qualified candidate who has a disability, whether that’s in applying for a job, being hired or fired, or in being given necessary training. 

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The ADEA, created in 1967 prevents employers from discriminating against those over the age of 40 in decisions related to hiring, promotions, wages, and termination. Employers cannot state age preferences or limitations when looking for candidates for a role. In addition, since 1986, in most sectors it has also prohibited mandatory retirement ages. 

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

This is likely to be the most well-known employment law that governs U.S. businesses and that HR professionals should be aware of. The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes the minimum wage for the country, and provides the laws for overtime pay, child labor, and how to keep records and file information to the government. 

Best Practices for Adhering to HR Hiring Laws when Hiring Freelancers

When it comes to hiring freelancers, it’s a whole different ball game! Hiring external talent means you don’t need to worry too much about laws around employee benefits, or immigration. But you do need to stay educated on relevant laws around misclassification for example, so that you don’t accidently treat your freelancers like employees. 

It can help to develop a standardized hiring process which vets and screens candidates to make sure they can compliantly work with your business. This is also a great way to implement fair interview practices, so you aren’t inadvertently treating candidates differently depending on any factor other than their ability to get the job done. Remember, if you actively promote diversity and inclusion, you’re going to get better ideas, more creative thought processes, and create an environment that everyone loves working in. 

If the legal and tax compliance process for freelance talent makes you want to hide in a corner, consider automating it! Fiverr Enterprise is a Freelancer Management Solution (FMS) that takes the whole headache of compliantly vetting, screening and onboarding freelancers off your hands, alleviating the admin involved in bringing external talent into the team. You can easily set your own customized and automated onboarding workflow, speeding up your hiring process and significantly cutting down your time to hire. 

Interested in seeing how it works for yourself? Schedule 30-mins with one of our workforce experts.