Whether your company has 5 or 500 employees, it's important to conduct a regular review of your HR and benefits-related notices, records and procedures. Your goal is to make sure your company is compliant with federal and state employment laws to prevent potential liabilities and employee lawsuits.


Taking the time to examine your company's HR compliance is integral to effective business management, but it can easily become an overwhelming task. The checklist below includes key steps and requirements that can help keep your company HR compliant.


  • Review and update employee job descriptions on an annual basis.
  • Make sure job descriptions and interviews are ADA compliant.
  • Check employment applications to be sure they are compliant with any applicable state laws.
  • Written authorization is obtained for background checks and Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements are satisfied.
  • Check to see if drug testing, requests for information related to arrests, convictions and any other candidate-related information requests are allowed in your state.
  • Review all discrimination policies related to federal and state laws.
  • Check to make sure all interview questions are appropriate and do not breach federal and state discrimination laws.
  • Make sure job offer letter is reviewed by an HR specialist or employment law attorney. Is employment at-will covered in your offer letter?
  • Plan new employee orientation/onboarding.


  • Confirm exempt or non-exempt status for each employee.
  • Check to see if pay practices are compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws that may be more favorable to employees.
  • Be sure pay and incentive programs treat employees equitably.
  • Review administration of overtime pay.
  • Review all independent contractor relationships to preventHR compliance misclassification.
  • Review final paycheck policy.


  • Review medical health plan and other benefits and confirm that all reporting requirements have been fulfilled.
  • Review all plans for compliance with Health Care Reform requirements, such as notices, dependent coverage to age 26, etc.
  • Review retirement plan and confirm that all reporting requirements have been fulfilled.
  • Review how information regarding benefits is communicated to your employees. Are your benefits easily understood by employees?
  • Confirm summary plan descriptions (SPDs) are distributed.
  • Review COBRA and state continuation of coverage compliance.
  • Analyze additional benefits, i.e., flexible scheduling and telecommuting.
  • Review all paid vacation, holiday and sick leave.

New Employee Procedures & Paperwork

Obtain the proper employee paperwork, including the following:

  • E-Verify/I-9 Employee Verification
  • Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate (W-4)
  • Employee Information Form
  • Employee Handbook (Be sure a receipt has been signed by the employee confirming the handbook has been reviewed.)
  • Comply with state labor laws related to new hire reporting, income and other taxes, drug testing, family leave, and overtime, as appropriate.
  • Be sure all employees can easily view state & federal posters.

It is prudent (and in certain instances may be legally required) to keep certain employee records and information in a confidential file separate from the personnel file, such as:

  • Medical records and documents that relate to an injury or disability
  • Material relating to workers' compensation claims
  • Family and Medical Leave documents
  • Forms I-9 and other employment verification information
  • Wage garnishment documentation
  • Documents pertaining to sensitive matters, such as harassment investigation records or any information pertaining to an employee's religion (such as a request for Jewish holidays off as a reasonable accommodation)

Performance Reviews

  • Communicate job expectations and responsibilities and document your meeting as to all issues and points covered.
  • The employee should clearly understand which tasks are most important, the conduct and results required, and the performance standards against which he or she will be judged.
  • Create a system for measuring performance, i.e., by tracking the number of clients contacted for customer service follow-up.
  • Give ongoing feedback – be sure to compare performance against job description and goals.

Training and Development

  • Review training or mentoring system.
  • Define training objectives and expectations.
  • Review regulatory training programs, i.e., safety and sexual harassment.

Employee Discipline/Termination

  • Review of step-by-step discipline procedures.
  • Review investigative procedures.
  • Review all documentation related to warnings, investigations and termination letters.
  • Review all termination/security procedures to retrieve all equipment, credit cards, access to computer systems, etc.
  • Review provision of references policy.
  • Review exit meeting agenda and requirements.

Please note that the above list is not all-inclusive. If you have any questions regarding your obligations under the law or about best practices when it comes to HR compliance, please consult with a knowledgeable employment law attorney. Our section on HR Self-Assessment Audits includes additional checklists and forms to help you conduct an HR compliance audit.


To learn more about the types of records that your company may be required to maintain, check out our free Personnel Recordkeeping Guide.


Image Credit: stopnlook


Topics: Employee Benefits, Human Resources, Reporting and Recordkeeping

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