Corporate Compliance Attorney, Alexandria VA
The United States government, from congress directly to its various federal agencies, has created a series of regulations that corporations must follow. The failure of following those regulations can vary depending on the agency in charge of enforcing those regulations and on the regulation itself. In general, a violation of federal regulations can trigger stiff penalties that a small business might not be able to survive, and sometimes can even trigger private lawsuits. A corporate compliance attorney can help you evaluate your business and find any areas that are not in compliance with federal regulations and make suggestions as to how you can become compliant. Many business owners might think that it’s better to wait for a problem to occur than to do anything now. After all, they’ve been running their business this way for years and nothing has happened. The problem with that line of thinking is that nothing has happened YET. And if/when something does happen, the cost to try to fix it will be far more than the cost to prevent it. Like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Below are some regulations businesses should be compliant with. For more detailed information, you should speak with a corporate compliance attorney.
There are several laws that govern employment, and several administrative agencies that enforce those laws. Part of corporate compliance is knowing and following these laws. The National Labor Relations Act governs the activity of employers, employees, and labor unions, and the National Labor Relations Board enforces those regulations. There are no civil penalties, but employers who may have been wrongfully terminated under the NLRA can sue for reinstatement or backpay, and the NLRB can enforce any other “make whole” policy that it feels is appropriate to the situation. The Fair Labor Standards Act governs overtime and minimum wage, which is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor and by private litigation. Employers who were not properly compensated for any overtime hours they may have worked can potentially receive double their unpaid overtime for up to 3 years prior to litigation. And since it’s unlikely for only one employee to be paid overtime incorrectly, this can have a cascading effect as more current (and sometimes former) employees file similar lawsuits. There’s also OSHA, which governs workplace safety. OSHA violations can potentially result in tens of thousands of dollars in penalties, or more. If employees become injured due to OSHA violations, they can sue you for negligence and use your violations of OSHA policy as evidence of negligence. Finally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gives workers the right to not be discriminated against on the basis of their sex, race, gender, etc. The penalties for violation depend on the type of discrimination that occurs, with the most egregious types being punished by having to pay an employee’s backpay along with other compensatory and punitive damages.
The Environmental Protection Agency monitors and enforces regulations relating to the environment. It is an important part of the environmental compliance part of corporate compliance. The EPA can investigate your business if it believes it to be in violation of federal environmental guidelines, and this can result in civil or even criminal investigations. The most basic and extensive form of investigation for the EPA is on site inspections. They conduct regular site visits to ensure proper compliance with environmental regulations by interviewing representatives on site, taking photographs, collecting samples, observing operations, and/or review company records and reports. If there are any problems reported during inspections, or if your business has been at the center of citizen complaints, the EPA will conduct a more thorough investigation of your business. Depending on the results of the investigation, they could decide to sue for tens of thousands or even up to hundreds of thousands in penalties or, if the infraction is considered to be especially egregious, intentional, or have severe repercussions, they could initiate criminal charges.
Corporate Compliance In Summary
What might be simple ignorance or a cutting of corners could end up costing your business dearly, whether through administrative fines, civil litigation, or even, extreme cases, criminal charges. If you would an attorney to review your business practices to ensure proper corporate compliance with state and federal law, be sure to contact us.