New Year employment law checkup for businesses

By Jack E. Cohoon
Attorney at Law

Here’s a new year’s resolution for growing businesses: Review your employment practices and policies with an attorney.

As businesses add workers, they also add legal obligations and potential employment law landmines. Here are some examples:

  • Businesses with five or more South Carolina-based employees must comply with the Payment of Wages Act. This law contains important requirements about written notice to employees of the terms of employment and any potential deductions from pay. It also sets requirements for record-keeping and for when and how workers are to be paid. There are strict penalties for employers who violate this law.
  • Once a business grows to at least 15 employees, it must comply with numerous state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and related medical conditions), national origin, and disability. Violations of these laws—even inadvertent ones—can result in significant legal liabilities.
  • Once businesses grow to employ 50 or more workers, they may be subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of leave for covered employees in a variety of qualifying circumstances. Employers’ obligations under this law can be complex.

Poorly written handbooks or policy documents can create massive problems for employers. If a handbook is missing certain disclaimers, an employer may inadvertently create an employment contract which the employee can use as a basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Growth presents challenges, but well-drafted policies and procedures—documented in a handbook available to your employees—can reduce your business’s legal risk. They can guide both managers and employees in how to comply with the law. They also promote equitable, consistent, nondiscriminatory treatment of employees.

Burnette Shutt & McDaniel is happy to help South Carolina businesses check this new year’s resolution off the list and be a part of their continued success in the coming year You can schedule a consultation by emailing or calling 803.850.0912.

Jack Cohoon is a partner at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel in Columbia, SC. You can reach him at or 803.904.7914.

Information or interaction on this page should not be construed as establishing a client-attorney relationship or as legal advice. For advice about your specific situation, please consult one of our attorneys.