Keeping it legal: Online tools help businesses comply with labor laws

Hiring your first employee or building your business team opens whole new areas for compliance in employment and labor law. Laws are far reaching and cover a broad range of issues: preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace, poster requirements, wage and hour laws, workers’ compensation insurance and more.

For small business owners short on time and resources, getting their arms around these laws can be tricky. The good news is that there are many online tools from both the U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Labor to help you understand which laws apply to your operations and what’s needed to comply.

The SBA Web site located at offers an article that details 10 steps to hiring your first employee, explaining the tax, legal and regulatory steps you need to follow when you hire your first and subsequent employees. The SBA Business Law Advisor blog also offers a useful reference point for all manner of small business law-related topics.

If you need to dig deeper into specific employment and labor laws, check out the Department of Labor elaws Advisors at These online tools offer easy-to-understand information about wage laws, hiring foreign workers and workplace safety and health as well as laws that apply to such specific groups as young employees, veterans and businesses that sell to the federal government.

Each advisor simulates the interaction you might have with an employment law expert based on typical questions you and your employees might pose. Your employees also can refer to the online tools for information about their rights.

Which aspects of employment law apply to you? Do you know which workplace posters you must display or the health and safety regulations with you must comply? Avoid navigating countless employment law guides by zoning in on exactly what applies to your business with the Department of Labor FirstStep Employment Law Advisor  located online at

The advisor will ask you a series of questions about your business and then provide simple information about employment laws that affect you. You can print out the results or refer back to the elaws Advisors tools for a deeper dive.

For additional resources:

Follow the Department of Labor on Twitter and Facebook.

Check out the SBA business law and regulations guide on the SBA Web site. Going beyond just employment law, this guide covers need-to-know information about environmental laws, privacy laws, online and marketing laws and more.

Search employment law information by topic at Get shortcut access to the commonly asked search terms and topics from the Department of Labor.

Each state enacts its own laws with which you also must also comply. In Colorado, employment law information is available online at the Web site located at

Follow the blogs posted online at the Web site located at, including the blog titled “10 Ways Your Small Business May Be Breaking Employment Laws.”