Criminal Penalties for Human Resources Violations

By hrlineup | 21.12.2021

Lawsuits against an organization’s HR policies can turn out to be a costly and embarrassing affair even if the company wins the case. Apart from scaring away top talent, HR law violations can result in criminal penalties against senior management.

So, is your company ready to defend itself against workplace discrimination charges? Here are some common HR violations, as well as some tips to help you avoid that unexpected lawsuit.

Common HR Related Laws and Violations

There are multiple legal practices that HR leaders should know to enable them to serve effectively and professionally. They include:

Workplace Discrimination

Equal Employment Opportunity laws protect employees of any age, race, color, sex, religion, or national origin against discrimination. Some Equal Employment Opportunity regulations that any HR leader should know include:

  • Equal Pay Act (EPA)
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Employee Benefits

With these HR compliance laws, all employees have the right to access benefits. Some general rules in this category include:

Workplace Safety

HR is required by the law to guarantee safe working conditions for all employees. To ensure this, the company should comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) to avoid getting into trouble with the department of labor.

Another critical law in this category is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Here, employees are eligible for a 12-week, job-protected unpaid leave per year in case of specific medical and family issues.

Wages and Hours

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum wage, youth employment standards, and overtime pay for employees in state, federal, and local governments. According to this employment law, $7.25 is the minimum wage per hour with a 40-hour workweek.

Avoiding HR Compliance Lawsuits

Follow the law

To avoid HR compliance fines, the HR leader should ensure that the company complies with all employment laws. Although this might sound obvious, most employers don’t comply with all state and federal employment laws leading to costly and time-consuming lawsuits.

Train supervisors and employees

Ensure that the supervisors are well-trained about the company policies as well as all employment laws. In addition to that, employees should get safety training about how to maintain their safety at the workplace.

Keep proper records

It’s essential to make proper documentation with records of all employee attendance records, performance reviews, and so on.

Create consistent work policies

Lastly, and most importantly, create consistent policies that cut across all employees, including senior management, to instill a professional work ethic. Apply the rules without favoritism to avoid discrimination charges.


While employer penalties for employment law violations are on the rise, it’s possible to avoid standard charges like failure to pay overtime, discrimination, wrongful termination, and more. Just follow all federal, state, and local employment laws to avoid criminal penalties for HR.