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The Importance of Compliance in an Organization

In any organization, there are certain government regulations and standards that you need to comply with. There are rules governing everything from healthcare to retirement portfolios to sexual harassment and more. Failure to adhere to these rules can result in serious penalties.

It may seem like a hassle, but these rules are in place to protect your workers, making sure they receive fair treatment and aren’t exploited. Therefore, it’s essential that you know what the rules are and what you need to do in order to ensure compliance within your organization at all times.

A Corporate Compliance Program

So how do you ensure compliance within your organization? The best way to make sure you cover all areas adequately is to establish a corporate compliance program within your company. Such a program would handle training and education in a variety of capacities, so that all employees know their rights and responsibilities under the law.

By training your employees to know what to look for, it makes it more likely that they’ll recognize and report instances of non-compliance, so that your company can deal with it quickly. This helps avoid a variety of potential problems, from fraud and abuse to corporate waste to discriminating and more.

To implement such a program, first you need someone to run it: typically a HR manager or committee who knows the various facets of compliance as they apply to your organization and can oversee it day to day. They will create a comprehensive list of all important areas and how to make your company compliant within them.

It’s important that the person or group in charge of the program have ultimate authority in compliance matters. If the CEO, a board member, or another high ranking executive is non-compliant in some way, they need to be held accountable, without fear of repercussions. That’s the only way such a program works.

Areas of Compliance

So what are some of the areas in which your organization needs to implement measures of compliance, and what do some of these measures entail? Here’s a very brief overview of some of the most important ones.

  • ACA. Companies with more than 50 full-time employees must provide those employees with access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Employees need to be educated on their options, and the cost of the plan must be reported to the IRS.
  • EEOC Reporting. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against anyone based on race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or a variety of other factors. Proving compliance in this area requires employers to maintain and report certain records about their hiring practices—and even more detailed records if the organization has a charge filed against it for failure to comply.
  • Sexual Harassment Training. Sexual harassment in the workplace is being taken more seriously than ever in today’s society. There are a variety of courses available for employees, to show them how to conduct themselves and what constitutes unacceptable behavior, as well as what to do and how to report it if they are sexually harassed.
  • Fiduciary Rule. Do you offer an IRA, 401(k), or other type of investment portfolio for your employees? Who oversees those investment? Relatively recent changes to the law state that any financial advisor must adhere to the fiduciary rule—i.e. they must place their client’s interests ahead of their own when providing investment advice. Does the person or organization handling your employees’ retirement accounts and other investments comply with these regulations?
  • Overtime. How much overtime are your employees allowed to work? How much do they get paid for working above and beyond normal hours? What are your responsibilities in that situation? What do you need to provide for them? Overtime rules can differ depending on where your company is located, but it’s important to know them before asking employees to stay late.

These are just a few of the issues to be aware of when it comes to compliance. Proper compliance doesn’t just protect your employees. It protects you as well, from lawsuits and other penalties. It’s important to make sure your employees know that they’re safe from exploitation, discrimination, and harassment, and that they have legal recourse if they ever face these things. Giving them that peace of mind will help make your company a much better working environment for everyone.

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