The Complete Compliance Checklist for Business

A common argument for small businesses is that they can’t afford a risk management department. But the truth is, most small businesses actually can’t afford not to.

Even if you don’t devote an entire team to compliance, you need to put plans in place that help keep your business from hefty government fines. Take a look at this complete compliance checklist every business needs to have.

Equal Opportunity

High profile lawsuits between business leaders and former employees should be a warning sign to anyone who thinks Equal Opportunity workplace laws don’t apply to them. While you might not employ enough people to warrant a scandal, one poorly executed conversation between coworkers can erupt into a much bigger issue.

The solution is to get your team’s Harassment and Discrimination training up to par. Equal Opportunity includes workplace harassment which includes anyone making offensive, threatening, or intimidating comments. 

It could even include one person’s attempt to humiliate another person. The most commonly known type of harrassment is sexual harassment. 

The next way to remain compliant is by avoiding discrimination. It’s best to avoid too much familiarity with employees so there’s no confusion over where you’re making decisions for the wrong reasons. 

This means not asking about their age or marital status during job interviews. Never ask about an employee’s ethnicity or family status.

It’s best to keep conversations professional so you don’t risk mixing business and personal. Train your supervisors and managers to do the same.

You won’t have much control over the behavior of your employees, but you can influence them by making sure the proper training protocols are in place. Awareness is the key to avoiding workplace conflicts. 

Workplace Health and Safety

One of the most important ways for your business to remain in compliance physically is workplace safety. This can mean everything from hosting regular OSHA training with your teams.

Having regular safety inspections done of your workplaces and warehouses. Safe premises are one of the top ways to remain compliant.

Even small businesses are subject to potential surprise inspections that could leave them vulnerable to fines. Make sure you have posted notices per your state and federal government policies.

These notices must be in a place that’s easy for employees to find like a break room everyone uses for lunch. Make sure your company has affordable workers comp insurance.

Workers comp insurance is important even if you don’t have any employees. This might seem counterintuitive, but workers comp is a key part of your ability to do work as a subcontractor.

Larger corporations can’t risk doing business with contractors who don’t have a certificate of insurance to prove their compliance. It puts them at risk of noncompliance. 

Any small business that opts not to get workers comp insurance should get an exemption letter from their state or local government to avoid any issues. 

Privacy Policy

Just about every business needs some form of privacy policy. This is true especially if you operate a website that collects customer information in any way, you’ll need a privacy policy.

This policy assures them that you plan to handle their information with care. It discloses whether or not their details can be sold to third parties and requests consent before doing so.

Digital privacy policies are now the best practice in the U.S. and a requirement in other countries. These are the privacy policies you put on your website to let customers know you have protection against data breaches.

Most people expect these policies from ecommerce businesses. Not having one could impact your ability to sell merchandise since your competitors will likely have one in place.

If your customers don’t feel secure doing business with you, they’ll move on to the next shop. It may seem meticulous and costly, but a privacy policy adds to the professionalism of your business. 

Consult with an attorney to determine the right type of privacy policy for you. Data breaches can lead to much bigger legal issues if the wrong information gets leaked.

In some industries, it’s absolutely necessary to have one in place. Talk to your attorney about any existing posted privacy policies and you’ll be protected from lawsuits or fines when anything goes wrong. 

Maintaining Records

One overlooked method of compliance is record keeping. There’s nothing too interesting about having a good filing system.

In fact, it might be one of the areas you’ve been putting off for years waiting for extra time in your schedule. But when an audit comes, not being able to respond promptly could cost you.

Make sure you have a neat and organized record-keeping system in place. Many small business owners argue that they’re not naturally organized.

Hire administrative help to keep your operations in line. The details are where the biggest issues can occur.

You want to be able to easily retrieve information in the event of a legal issue or employee dispute. Make sure there are digital versions available for easy retrieval.

In industries where the paper is still a standard, you won’t likely have room in an office to store all your data. A digital filing system makes finding archived information simpler. 

Compliance Checklist

Every business needs to put together a personalized compliance checklist. Compliance means you are running a legal and ethical business that’s not at risk of potential penalties.

Unfortunately, it’s not a one-time thing. You have to update your company’s compliance regularly no matter how small your business is.

Perform your own audits so you can respond to infractions before they become a big deal. For more information and tips, visit our blog for updates. 


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