A recent series of articles in HR Magazine, the publication from the Society for Human Resources Management, discussed the increasing burden of regulatory compliance on employers in the United States prior to the Great Recession and as a result of employer practices during it.
A similar series of articles in the May 2011 PEO Insider, the publication for the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, charted the exponential increase of employment law and regulations from 1900 to present day.
Some of the creative ways companies used to survive the recent recessionary earthquake got government regulators looking out for the welfare of the American worker hot under the collar.
As a result, new laws and regulations have been established on the local, state and federal level to outlaw practices like misclassification, credit checks and discriminating against the unemployed.
Motivations for the employer practices and the employee protections are not all good and not all bad.
Many employers were simply trying to keep their businesses afloat while others used the recession as an excuse to trim the fat or rationalize bad practices.
On the other side of the fence, some of the regulations result from making up for revenue shortfalls in government coffers while others prevent employers from discriminating against well qualified candidates who have long gaps in their employment history because of high competition for few open positions.
While the danger of over regulating the workplace is a stalling economy with little innovation in a country known to push the envelope of what’s possible, employers must do what they can to be compliant with local, state and federal labor laws.