Monday, August 13, 2012

Association as Employer: what laws do you need to know about?

We don't often think about community associations in the context of labor law but the majority of associations do have at least one employee and some large master associations have dozens. The largest association employer I ever met actually bought a building to house its more than seventy-five association employees.

Even if you have only one employee or as many as a small company, your board needs to understand that you have duties and responsibilities to those employees under both federal, state and local laws. For purposes of this blog, we'll stick with just the Federal and Florida laws that will impact associations who have at least one employee. There are many more laws that need to be considered when the number of people an association employs goes beyong the one-person mark.

For associations that have one or more employees, the law firm of Christine Hanley & Associates ( has advised that the following laws apply:

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This law establishes minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and youth employment standards. This law also prohibits wage discrimination baed on sex as well as prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under this Act.

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This law establishes minimum workplace safety standards for private sector employers and prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers.

Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970. This law promotes the accuracy, fairness and privacy of informatoin in the files of consumer reporting agencies. This law prohibits employers from using a third party to obtain a consumer report on an applicant or employee unless the individual gives authorization by signing a separate disclosure and consent form. This law also requires an employer to provide the applicant with a copy of the consumer report and written summary of rights before denying employment or taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on the consumer report.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. This law establishes minimum standards for most voluntarily-established health and welfare benefit and pension plans in the private sector. This law requires employers to provide plan participants with information about plan features and funding. This law also imposes fiduciary responsibilities on those who manage and control plan assets and requires plans to establish a grievance and appeals process.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This law prohibits the employment of individuals not authorized to work in the U.S by requiring employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all employees.

Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988. This law prevents employers from requiring or requesting employees to submit to lie detector tests either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with certain exceptions. This law also prohibits retaliation against an employee or applicant who refuses to take a lie detector test.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. This law protects civilan jobs and benefits for veterans and reservists. This law requires employers to re-employ returning service members in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. This law also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate a disability which has been incurred or aggravated during military service. Lastly, this law requires employers to make reasonable efforts (such as training or retraining) to enable returning service members to refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for re-employment.

Florida's Minimum Wage Act. This law establishes state minimum wage standards for employees.

Florida's Unemployment Compensation Law. This law provides monetary benefits to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. This law suggests that employers should establish standards of conduct for employees and implement a 90-day probationary period for new hires.

Florida Health Insurance Coverage Continuation Act. This law provides employees and covered family members not covered by COBRA with a temporary extension of group health care coverage under certain circumstances.

The foregoing laws impact associations who have even just one employee. Naturally, the more employees an association has, the more government regulation to which it will be subjected. Associations with two or more employees will be subject to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1954 and the Florida's Workers' Compensation Law. If an association has fifteen or more employees, it will be subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

This blog is not meant to discourage associations from hiring employees. It is meant to advise associations and their managers that hiring employees is a serious business, subject to much government regulation. It is absolutely essential that associations establish employee protocol that complies with all pertinent statutes and ordinances. In other words, call your attorney before placing that ad for your next employee!


  1. Great article, Donna! Brava!

  2. Is a porter, who works as an employee of a company that is contracted by a COA, considered an employee of the COA? Would the same laws apply to that case?