Recently, there was a federal investigation into a restaurant in Ottawa, Kansas that started several years before any charges were leveled. As soon as indictments were handed down, restaurant management was caught off guard, and operations were paralyzed. The restaurant’s general manager was sentenced to six months in federal prison on eleven counts related to the employment and reporting of undocumented workers.

This article isn’t about the hiring of undocumented workers, it’s about ensuring comprehensive, fully compliant onboarding, that leverages simple technologies that could potentially save you tens -if not hundreds of thousands should you suffer an audit or investigation. In many cases these are brought on by simple human error in the face of mystifying regulations and reporting requirements.

Make no mistake; there is a ‘Sea Change’ in the labor enforcement climate, and a measurable uptick in policy enforcement, frequency, and methodology. With the upcoming requirements regarding Washington State’s Paid Family Sick Leave, you owe it to yourself and your business to ensure fully compliant systems are in place.

  1. Adapt to the Sea Change: It’s long past time for employers to take a critical view of their hiring and compliance processes to determine if they meet the legal labor standards requirements. Enforcement data suggests it’s only a matter of time before you are the subject of a “work-site enforcement action.”
  1. Take the Big View: Identify the end users of the hiring process. The employee, supervisor, payroll manager, payroll processor, auditors, and even attorneys will all be looking at your hiring paperwork which means you need to ensure that everyone finds what they need – and see what you want them to see.
  1. Leverage technology: Take advantage of technology as a solution to your hiring processes. Compliance is best accomplished by removing human error. Chances are, your new hire knows next to nothing about the rules of hiring, paperwork, and policy management.
  1. Hot List: To ensure full legal compliance, you need an integrated system to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks. Whatever scheme you implement you’ll need to confirm that there are tools already in place that enable review of the critical forms.
  1. Security: System security is tantamount. What you are looking for in an automated system are multiple levels of security, including protection of PEI, confidentiality, and server security. Another key concern is confidentiality.  Access levels need to be clear and well-defined.
  1. Messaging: Successful hiring requires effective communication from the employer to the new hire, including employee manuals, legal rights, company policies and procedures, work site rules and more. Effective onboarding significantly increases retention rates.
  1. Total Cost of Ownership: Also consider ROI measurements in establishing a sustainable hiring and compliance management process. Given the potential risks, it might make sense to invest now in an affordable compliance management system for your hiring process. Insist on clarity when it comes to the TOTAL cost of ownership; what’s included with the monthly list price? Bandwidth, cloud storage, cost per employee/location, user credentials, change fees, help ticket pricing, new or customized forms, and more… these can add up, be sure to insist on clarity.

Get the FULL version of ‘Seven Best Practices for Labor Compliance Success’ whitepaper at or email and ask for the white paper. Consider implementing new, simple and comprehensive tools into your onboarding systems – that are customized to your needs. Your new awareness equips you and your team for evaluating potential solutions and acting to protect yourself and your business from the hazards present in the Sea Change.