NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Making Sense of Employment Laws

July 18, 2003

Due to the tangle of government rules and regulations, being an employer is risky business, says Richard W. Rahn (Discovery Institute). For example,

  • An employer who unknowingly violates the "Fair Labor Standards Act" can be fined or even go to jail.
  • Under the antimoney laundering laws, a bank president can be jailed because a young teller in a faraway branch office inadvertently opens an account for an individual whose money came from a nonconvicted criminal.
  • The CEO of a manufacturing company can be charged under the anti-discrimination laws because one of his or her employees in a distant plant told an off-color joke to some other employee.

Employers are also liable to be civilly sued for violating government regulations. For example, tour operators are the target of some six class-action suits regarding overtime pay. A second example is when an employee is required to be paid overtime. Some tour directors claim they were not paid "overtime" because they say they are really on 24-hour duty. But being available to assist tourists is a job requirement, and they were free to negotiate higher pay in return.

Source: Richard W. Rahn, "Regulations that inhibit hiring," Washington Times, July 18, 2003.


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