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New laws could impact business owners in 2024

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Business & Commercial Litigation |

Georgia business owners know the importance of keeping up with changes in the law. Learning about changes in the laws ahead of time allows you to determine if they impact your business and prepare for them to take effect.

There are some new laws set to take effect or be voted on in 2024 that are likely to impact business owners in Georgia and nationwide.

Classifying workers as employees or independent contractors

If your business has both employees and independent contractors, you may have had trouble in the past knowing how to properly classify workers. This could lead to problems since misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor can result in serious penalties.

However, a new regulation from the U.S. Department of Labor that goes into effect the month sets standards for classifying workers.

The Labor Department considers misclassification a major problem because it could violate a worker’s right to minimum wage, overtime pay and negatively affect the economy.

Potential ban on noncompete agreements

Another major law involves the recent nationwide movement to ban noncompete agreements. Noncompete agreements generally prohibit employees leaving a business from working for a competitor for a certain period of time or disclosing trade secrets or other confidential information.

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a new law that would ban almost all noncompete agreements nationwide. The law would supersede all less restrictive state laws on noncompete agreements.

Although the law is not in effect yet and is scheduled to be voted on in April 2024, it is still a good idea to review and update any existing noncompete agreements in anticipation of the law potentially going into effect. Decide if your agreements could include less restrictive language that still protects your business interests.

The definition of joint employees

Finally, the National Labor Relations Board issued a Final Rule that expands the definition of joint employees. The rule took effect on February 26, 2024, and replaces a prior rule from 2020.

The rule broadens the circumstances under which a business is considered a joint employer of employees of another business. The new rule states that a business is a joint employer if it exercises control over seven different terms or conditions of employment.

These conditions include compensation, including wages and benefits, work hours, assignment and supervision of duties and the ability to hire and fire employees.

An employer who has control over working conditions related to the health and safety of employees and work rules surrounding how duties are performed could also now be considered a joint employer.

Staying within the bounds of the law

Violating these or any other laws can lead to costly business litigation that can negatively impact your profits and professional reputation. A violation, even unknowingly, also usually causes stress and disruption to your business operations.

It is important to always be aware of changes in laws such as these to ensure the actions you take as a business owner comply with the law.