This post is about employment law. It is directed particularly to people from other countries who are not familiar with U.S. employment practices.
It is based on my answer to a Quora question. Please see What are the most important aspects of American labor law that a foreigner trying to make a terrestrial logistics company in (any state of) the U.S. should take into consideration?
I am providing this answer based on my experience helping dozens of international clients conduct businesses in the U.S.
Here are the most important things for a foreigner to know about U.S. labor and employment law.
Hiring, Management, and Firing
- Generally, it is easy to hire and fire employees in the U.S. Employment is “at will”. This is great for employers, especially in comparison to the employment laws of many other developed countries.
- There is a temptation for startups to misclassify employees as independent contractors to save money. Don’t do it! (For more information, please see my posts about .)
- Discriminating against (prospective) employees based on protected classes (race, religion, gender, etc.) is a violation of federal and state laws. Don’t do it!
- To bring employees on board, you should have a form of at-will offer letter, a Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement, and an Employee Handbook.
- Employment of non-U.S. nationals requires the services of an immigration lawyer who specializes in work visas.
- If you have blue-collar employees, treat them well enough that they have no incentive to join a union. Once they are unionized, at-will employment, and its benefits, are lost.
- If you need to terminate an individual’s employment, consult with an employment lawyer. You will need help you set the appropriate foundation and process to minimize the likely of a lawsuit.
Employment Law and Record-Keeping
- If you have just a handful of employees, an accountant can take care of withholding and forwarding payments to governmental entities. If the number of employees grows significantly, you probably will need to use a payroll or similar service.
- Maintain employment records in accordance with applicable state laws.
- Post workplace notices in accordance with federal and state laws.
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510-547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.