To Which Employment Laws Is Your Business Subject? The Minimum Statutory Requirements of Various State and Federal Laws.

Elliott Stapleton Employment Law

With so many employment laws on the books, at the state and federal level, and many with different requirements regarding applicability, it can be confusing to determine which laws apply to your business.  Given the importance of different obligations, policies and restrictions imposed upon businesses by the various laws, and the hefty penalties for violating them, it is critical that you know which laws apply to your business.  The following chart will outline the minimum number of employees, or other relevant criteria, that subjects a business to each employment law listed.

Federal Law

Federal Requirements Ohio Law

Ohio Requirements

Race, Color, Religion, Sex or National Origin

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

15 or more employees

Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4112.02(A)

4 or more employees


Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

20 or more employees

ORC 4112.02(N); ORC 4112.14

4 or more employees


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

15 or more employees

ORC 4112.02(A)

4 or more employees

Medical Leave

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

50 or more employees



Wage and Hour

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

All employers

ORC 4111.13(B)

Sales > $150,000


As you can see, many state employment laws overlap with their federal counterpart.  Therefore, while it is possible that your business may not be subject to a federal statute, the same type of conduct may be protected by an equivalent state statute to which your business is subject.  For example, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees over the age of 40, only applies to employers with more than 20 employees.  However, Ohio has a similar statute preventing this type of discrimination that applies to employers with 4 or more employees.  Therefore, an employer with 10 employees can still be sued for age discrimination despite not being subject to the federal law making age discrimination unlawful.  Rather, the aggrieved employee will have a cause of action under state law.

This chart is only an illustrative list of the most common employment laws and does not include every employment law on the books.  In addition, factors other than the number of employees may need to be considered to determine whether a law applies.  For example, a business must employ 20 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks during the current or preceding year for the FMLA to apply.  The number of employees, therefore, is typically just a starting point to determining whether a law applies to your business.

If you have any questions about the laws listed above, or about any other employment issue related to your business, feel free to contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation.

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About the Author

Elliott Stapleton

Elliott is a partner in the firm of Cornetet, Meyer, Rush and Stapleton serving clients throughout Ohio. Elliott's business clients range from small single member companies to large privately-held businesses. CMRS Law provides legal services which include advice on Business Formation and Transactions, Real Estate Transactions, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Estate Planning, Trust Administration, Probate Administration, and Succession Planning. CMRS Law serves clients at two locations: 123 Boggs Lane, 1st Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246 and 2101 Grandin Road, Suite A, Cincinnati, OH 45208