There are more than 180 federal employment laws designed to protect the rights of the employee that are administered and enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Many of these federal laws are applicable only to businesses with a specified number of employees (which varies depending on the law). However, when you enter into a co-employment arrangement with a professional employer organization (PEO), your employees are pooled with all of the PEO's employees and, thus, you are legally required to adhere to these federal employment laws. For example:
Laws normally applicable to laboratories with 15 or more employees:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 protects men and women who perform equal work in the same establishment from gender-based wage discrimination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, prohibits employment discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities. The ADA requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for an applicant or employee's disability unless it would impose undue hardship on the employer's business.
Normally applicable to laboratories with 20 or more employees:
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, passed in 1967, prohibits age discrimination in employment for people who are 40 years old or older.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires that group health plans sponsored by laboratories offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage in certain instances where coverage would otherwise end, such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, or transition between jobs.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides rights and protections for participants in group health plans. For instance, under HIPAA, employees and their dependents cannot be excluded from health insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions or discriminated against based on their health status. HIPAA may also give employees the right to purchase individual coverage if they have no group health plan coverage available, and have exhausted COBRA or other continuation coverage.
Normally applicable to laboratories with 50 or more employees:
- The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to employees for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of the employee or a family member.