When I was a child, whenever I wanted to do something popular that my parents disapproved of, they would caution me, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” I hated when they said that. Yet, now that I am a parent, I find myself saying the same thing to my kids. Today, I am also going to say it to my readers.
Just because a particular employment practice is popular or widespread does not mean it’s legal. There are lots of practices in use at lots of companies that do not pass legal muster:
- Various common wage and hour exemptions.
- Treating employees as contractors.
- Refusing to pay employees for off-the-clock work.
- Failing to pay employees who work through their lunch breaks.
- Googling job applicants as the lone background screening tool.
- Lack of technology policies and social networking policies.
- Policies that prohibit discussions about wages and benefits.
- Requiring pre-offer medical exams of all job applicants..
This list could go on and on. The point is that popular employment practices aren’t necessarily legal employment practices. You should not rely on the company-next-door for your legal compliance. Instead, invest a few dollars in a comprehensive review by a qualified attorney. Heck, some of us will even get started for free.
[Hat tip: Wage and Hour Laws]