HR Compliance Checklist for Business Owners

By TechFunnel Contributors - Last Updated on September 24, 2021
Article gives the HR compliance checklist for 2020

2020 is a year that is seeing times of adaptation and innovation for many companies. For this reason, it is important to manage its business structure. Human Resource professionals and business owners create HR compliance checklists(1) to ensure HR audits run smoothly.

With the landscape of the economy and business’ changing, it’s important to maintain HR compliance with government laws and increase a company’s influence.

HR Compliance Checklist With Everything You Need to Help You Ensure Your Organization.

  1. Recruiting

    For a business to run smoothly, updating and solidifying recruiting processes should be a top priority. Reviewing job application forms and job descriptions will be incredibly important. This will help filter out the right employees and candidates for the company.

    This protects businesses from potential lawsuits that don’t comply with the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA).

    A company should be selective with the job marketplaces they enter and where their job posts are found. It’s also important to utilize all resources and see if there are other ways to reach out to potential candidates.

    Recruiting can also take place internally in a company, so taking a look at a current team to see if there are potential promotions available will be important to team chemistry and company development.

  2. DiSC Program

    By integrating a DiSC program into the company, this will help ensure that the best employees fit for the company are presented. For reference, a DiSC personality assessment is a non-judgmental tool used to discuss behavioral differences between people.

    This will help filter out employees that are not a fit for either the position they are applying for, the company as a whole, or both. It is important to note and report each series of questions as well as their results to the company’s record to use for future data reference.

  3. Interviewing

    Noting down specific interview questions that have performed well in past interviews as well as those questions that brought forth the best employees can be important in the long run.

    Also noting who conducts interviews that bring in the best employees can help with the recruiting and interview process. Reviewing processes for orientations will also be helpful for onboarding employees.

  4. Hiring Procedures

    Reviewing processes for orientations will be helpful for onboarding employees. It will be an important step for HR professionals to review documents provided to these employees to emphasize laws that prohibit employment discrimination for their sex, race, or age.

    These documents can include letters or contracts as well as any training/onboarding procedures that employees will sign or go through.

  5. Employee Handbook

    An important document as a whole would be the employee handbook. Over the last year, the handbook communicated to the current employees in the company and it is great to update this when the company is looking to add new members to their team. As a must-have set of documents, all expectations should be clearly laid out.

    This creates a sense of safety and comfort for both employees and their employers. The employee handbook should be updated annually and at most bi-annually so that these policies and procedures are up to date.

  6. Anti-Discrimination Laws

    When reviewing the employee handbook, an emphasis should be placed on all anti-discrimination laws and how they affect companies and their workspaces.

    Some notable laws include :

    • The Americans With Disabilities Act – prohibits discrimination based on disabilities
    • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act – prohibits discrimination for family medical history, genetic risk factors, and other genetic information
    • The Affirmative Action Program – requires active recruitment and training programs for minorities, disabled individuals, women, and veterans alike
  7. Anti-Harassment Laws

    When reviewing the employee handbook, an emphasis should be placed on all anti-harassment laws and how they affect the work environment and the business.

    Some notable laws include:

    • The Civil Rights Act – prohibits discrimination based on sex and sexual harassment in the workplace
    • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act – prohibits discrimination against applicants ages 40 and older
  8. Policies/Procedures

    Regarding policies and procedures, most of these will take place in the employee handbook and any other standard documents. It’s best to take time to make sure that the handbook is looked over for accuracy to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws regarding employment to the company.

    This helps lay out all the benefits and groundwork for their position and place in the company. Included in these procedures should be everything ranging from compensation and unemployment benefits as well.

  9. Compensation Compliance

    It is important for candidates to understand their appropriate compensation in the company. This way there are fewer complications with payroll and HR in the future. With an HR compliance checklist, it’s also a great time to review appropriate compensation for employees already in the company.

    This annual or bi-annual check can help boost current employee morale and to assess the need for future candidates. This can also help address any holes that need to be filled or areas that have access to funding to help balance the expense reports in the future.

  10. Working Time

    It is important for companies to look into clarifying working time for employees. Many positions have different working hours, including the time that is flexible and opportunities for overtime. Annually it is great to review time clocked in for current workers and to make sure the correct time is allotted to new positions.

    This can also include any working expenses such as travel, meals, and any extra time spent working from home. It is important to update any procedures with proper ways to record when work is occurring.

  11. Unemployment Benefits

    Addressing an employee’s time immediately after their time from the company will also be very important. This checklist can relate to reviewing policies for terminated employees and any periods where they are entitled to unemployment pay.

    This can also relate to their status and connection with the company because they have some relation to the company that will never change once they have been onboarded in any way. This can also help the business image.

  12. Employee File

    Relating to current employees, reviewing what is kept in their file will be great to review. Every employee file should include important documents such as their application for their position, any forms of recognition or awards, as well as any disciplinary notices.

    It is important to review this so that there are not any private documents or information from the employee that are kept, as this information should be confidential.

    These private documents may include but are not limited to medical documents, drug screening results, background check results, polygraph results, or any other personal information.

  13. I-9 Forms

    Having completed I-9 forms for each employee will be important for every business. Once you verify the employee’s documents and information, a copy will need to be made for the company.

    This is also a great time to review that any current employees have this information available and updated to keep everything in order. This is important for new and onboarding employees to complete so that they are eligible for their first paycheck at the appropriate time and so there are fewer complications in that situation.

  14. Wellness & Safety Section

    Safety will always come first when it comes to a business and its employees. Reviewing all wellness and safety concerns will be important because companies will need to adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

    Depending on the business, different items will need to be reviewed so that the correct hazard and safety precautions are made. This will be important for incoming employees to review as well so updating these will be a priority.

    Touring the physical work area where teams work will also provide better results in reviewing safety procedures. This will help protect employees, consumers as well as the company as a whole.

  15. Employee Discipline & Termination

    In order to maintain balance and a level of expectation in the workplace, reviewing disciplinary measures and termination policies will be an important part of an HR compliance checklist. Reviewing past disciplinary actions, what caused them, termination cases, and what caused those can help strengthen these policies.

    All policies and procedures regarding any employee actions and investigations should be very clearly stated, defined, and communicated to all employees. It’s important to note all situations regarding employee warnings, investigations, and terminations so that there is human resource compliance. This helps protect the company as well as the employee.

    It’s important to review all copies of these policies in order to protect the business and their assets as well, which can include computer logins, business equipment as well as business information. Reviewing final paycheck procedures can be helpful as this is a common issue during the employee termination process.

    It will be vital to a company’s success and image to review all of these procedures and make sure they are compliant with federal and state laws so that they can be enforced in a consistent and fair manner.

  16. Performance Management

    Measuring the performance of employees is important to review as this is how an employee can base their success in the company. Streamlining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across teams will help them be measured fairly.

    This can help with team chemistry, recognition, and advancement in the company. This can also encourage incoming employees to provide their best work to be valuable to the business.

    Annually it’s great to review these performances and see how they can be improved upon for the future. This helps promote growth within the company.

  17. Management Training

    In order to build successful employees, it’s important to build incredible managers. The annual training helps management teams regulate the knowledge and skills necessary for them to confidently lead teams to success. This confidence can help leaders recognize and handle any situations that may result from teams and their interactions with consumers to reduce risk to the business.

    It’s important for managers to learn how to give performance reviews to employees, manage their leadership style, manage difficult employees, preventing discrimination and harassment at all levels, terminating employees, and regulating a safe work environment.

    HR specialists are challenged to create a successful work environment from the top of the company all the way to entry-level employees.

  18. Leave Entitlements

    An important aspect of work-life balance in a company is to leave entitlement. The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for new parents, caring for sick loved ones, or other qualifying reasons.

    This is important for employees to know so that they feel protected by their employer to work on issues that are not affected in the workplace and are out of their control. Reviewing these policies so that they are compliant is another important aspect for companies.

  19. Affordable Care Act

    Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with at least 50 or more full-time employees must require healthcare for their employees. Making sure this information is up to date will help businesses avoid penalties and fines if their policies fail to comply.

    If a business is nearing this threshold, it will be important to address this sooner rather than later, in order to stay ready and up to date for when that time comes.

  20. Social Networking

    With the rise to prominence that social media has seen over the last few years, it is more important than ever to abide by social networking policies in the workplace. As a business, it is best to outline what is and isn’t appropriate for employees and managers to post on social networking sites.

    This could include prohibiting the visitation of social networking sites during working hours and if the information posted on personal accounts can affect the company or co-workers. There could be prohibitions between managers and employees connecting in personal ways on social media as well as the ability for a company to view personal accounts of incoming or current employees.

    It should be noted that the National Labor Regulation Board (NLRB) encourages employers not to tell employees specifically what they can or cannot post on social media. Rather, outlining what could possibly affect company privacy and reputation and the connection between employees to their employer when representing themselves on these social networking sites.

( Also Read: 8 HR Compliance Laws Every HR Leader Should Know )

Final Thoughts

As audit time inches closer, it’s important to be thinking of these updates throughout the year to help ease the workload. Failure to comply with laws and regulations can result in significant penalties and fines for the company, so it’s best to stay on top of the work in order to maintain the image of the company and business. It is an important step towards more success for the company and is a great chance for new innovation in the business.


Miguel Pobre is a freelance content creator based in Portland, OR. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business Administration. Alongside writing, Miguel has a passion for photography and design. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

TechFunnel Contributors | is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicated to sharing unbiased information, research, and expert commentary that helps executives and professionals stay on top of the rapidly evolving marketplace, leverage technology for productivity, and add value to their knowledge base.

TechFunnel Contributors | is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicate...


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