The applicability of many employment laws is often tied to the number of employees a particular company has. While large businesses are generally required to comply with more laws than small businesses, all employers must stay alert and in compliance with the latest employment law changes.
For example, Minneapolis recently became the first city in Minnesota to require employers, with six or more employees, to offer paid sick leave. St. Paul is quickly following suit, drafting its own paid sick leave ordinance.
In 2014, the Minnesota Legislature enacted the Women’s Economic Security Act, applicable to employers with 21 or more employees, expanding unpaid leave under the Minnesota Parental Leave Act from 6 to 12 weeks, while also requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, including seating, additional food and water breaks, and limits to heavy lifting.
In addition, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance, and employers with 200 or more employees must automatically enroll employees in health insurance plans.
The fact that each of these pieces of legislation includes a different measure of eligibility points to the fact that employers and their counsel need to keep track of their headcount and consider what laws apply to their company. Smaller employers may be able to use definitional requirements as a defense to potential liability.
Employment law requirements are imposed according to size in order to not overburden tiny and small employers. A business with a single employee, for example, could be put out of business by a wrongful termination lawsuit. A company with 100 or more employees, on the other hand, is presumably better able to diversify its risk and better able to afford the cost of providing additional rights, benefits and protections to its workers.
As some employers lay off workers, they may face potential liability under certain state and federal laws. Other employers adding employees to their payroll, will become subject to more laws as they grow. Both types of employers – and their counsel – must keep in mind that the size of the workforce may govern what laws apply to the company as set forth below:
Number of Resulting
1: Time to request an employer I.D. number, obtain worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance, and draft a sexual harassment policy. The Minnesota Human Rights Act applies to any size employer, Minn. Stat. sec, 363A.03, subd. 16. So does the Minnesota Whistleblower statute, Minn. Stat. sec. 181.931, subd. 3, the Minnesota Drug Testing Statute, Minn. Stat. sec. 181.950, subd. 7, and many other laws.
6: Employers in Minneapolis must provide employees one hour paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked (maximum of 48 hours each year), starting July 1, 2017.
10: Must maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 300A regarding workplace injuries.
15: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. sec. 2000E; Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. sec. 12111(5)(A).
20: Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) 29 U.S.C. sec. 630(b); Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (“COBRA”); American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”) (requires companies with more than 20 employees to provide a subsidy for COBRA premiums of 65 percent for nine months.); Minnesota Bone Marrow Donation Leave and Organ Donation Leave statutes, Minn. Stat. sec. 181.945, subd. (c) and Minn. Stat. sec. 181.9456, subd. 1 (c); Minnesota Personnel Record Statute, Minn. Stat. sec. 181.960, subd. 3.
21: Minnesota parenting leave, Minn. Stat. sec. 181.940; Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act (“WESA”).
50: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) (requires employers to offer employee health insurance); Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. sec. 2611(4)(A)(i).
100: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act, 29 U.S.C. sec 2101(a); employers with at least 100 employees also have an EEO-1 filing requirement. Also, time to consider a full-time Human Resources professional for each 100 employees.
200: PPACA (requires employers to automatically enroll employees into health insurance plans offered by the employer).
About the Author:
Minnesota employment law attorney V. John Ella has extensive experience representing employers with compliance issues. If you have any questions about employment law, please contact him at 612.455.6237 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. is a Minnesota employment law firm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.