It’s not easy for a small business to comply with the never-ending, ever-changing workplace laws that exist.  Yet, failing to do so puts a business at risk of lawsuits and substantial fines.  Here are 5 of the most common HR compliance fines that a business may face. 

1. Failure to Verify Employment Eligibility – All new employees are required to complete a Form I-9 no later than their first day of employment and the employer section of the I-9 form must be completed within three days of the employee’s start date.  Some States even require that this be accomplished through E-Verify.  Failing to timely and correctly complete the I-9 form, or worst, not having one at all, can result in substantial fines of $230 to $2,292 per technical error, per employee form and all the way up to $4,586 if found to be knowingly hiring an unauthorized worker. 

2. Absence of New Hire Reporting – State and federal laws require employers to report information on any employee hired if the employee is required to fill out a W-4 form.  A new hire report is required to be submitted within twenty days of hiring, rehiring or recalling employees. Failure to do so can result in a penalty of $25 per employee per month that the information goes unreported.

3. Record Keeping – Every employer covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must keep certain records for each covered, nonexempt worker. There is no required form for the records, but the records must include accurate information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned.  As an example, employers may have to maintain certain employee payroll records for a minimum of three years.  Depending on where you do business, there may be State specific record keeping requirements as well. 

4. Minimum Wage & Overtime Violations – Violating minimum wage and overtime requirements can result in substantial backpay and fines.  These penalties are normally assessed on a “per-person” basis for each employee that the employer has paid unlawfully.  It’s important to note that a business will be liable for these penalties whether the unlawful pay was done mistakenly or “willfully”, and violations found to be “repeated” or “willful” can also be subject to civil money penalties.

5. Violation of the American with Disabilities Act – The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) has complicated rules that apply to both applicants and employees.  While there are instances where the reality is that some individuals are simply unable to work certain jobs, it is important to note that in many cases, the law will find that accommodations can in fact be made for a disabled applicant or employee and employers are prohibited from discriminating against such individuals.  First time violations of the ADA can result in fines up to $55,000, increasing in the case of repeat offenders. 

If you run a small business, you may not have access to the human resources expertise needed to help you navigate through the many areas of workplace compliance, but remember, you are still required to comply with these regulations.  Trying to figure it out on your own takes time away from growing your business and increasing your profits.  Partnering with The HR Hotline® provides your business with unlimited access to proven legal and human resources expertise to help you remain compliant and protect your business.  Contact us today for a free consultation, visit or email us at