Employment Law and Regulation: Where Change is Constant

Keeping current with employment law updates is no walk in the park, except to one resident legal Genius.


I was chatting the other day with our chief legal wizard at GeniusHR, who’s been managing one of his seemingly continual updates to the company’s database of employment laws and regulations.  He’s got his work cut out for him, managing the Genius database expansion to cover state and municipal employment laws in addition to federal employment laws.  In addition to that, other parts of the database now need revision since the Supreme Court issued a number of rulings at the end of this last term that affect employee relations and legal rights.


Steve, our legal wizard, shared his works-in-progress chart with us in a recent company meeting, exposing the exhaustive detail involved in the two full pages of line items, each of which represents a complex body of statutory and case law on that subject.


The rest of us were astonished by the sheer variety of laws, as well as by the wide spectrum of cities, counties and states across the U.S. who have their hands in this particular pie. California is probably the most regulated state in the nation, with state laws covering employee leave of every imaginable kind, including domestic violence, school visits, jury duty, organ donations, crime victims, voting leave, family crisis leave, volunteer service, bereavement, civil air patrol and breast lactation time. And that’s only the State. San Francisco and Los Angeles have written their own policies on sick leave, assuring among other things that family leave is covered for domestic partners.


As Steve described his progress slogging through this swamp of regulations, the rest of us were saying silent prayers of thanks that this task wasn’t on our desks. Not only that, though, It gave us a greater appreciation for the grunt work performed by our legal team on the back end of the GeniusHR software. All that conscientious and painstaking review of evolving case and statutory law is taking place on a nearly continual basis, just so that front end users can open up the software, answer a few simple queries about the facts of an employee transaction, and let the GeniusHR process engine figure out which laws apply and how they will operate in that situation.


When you think about it, this is pretty cool. HR staff doesn’t have to develop any legal expertise, or worse yet, take any stabs in the dark about calculating hours and days earned toward a requested leave. Especially now that so many different states have their own versions of leave mandates (New York, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, California, DC and Connecticut), a company operating in multiple states almost needs their own in-house legal team to figure it all out, or else HR staff would have to attend a lot of employment law seminars and absorb page after page of mind-numbing legal text to ensure that company business rules and policies are compliant.


As long as there are legislators, lawyers and judges, we can expect the landscape of employment law to be constantly changing. Thanks to Steve and his legal team, though, users of GeniusHR software won’t have to worry about it.

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