Startups and small companies don't always have knowledge of or easy access to all the legal information that falls under Human Resources. Big companies, on the other hand, have dedicated HR professionals or even entire legal departments who specialize in this. Here are some resources about what HR associates legally need to know.

1) Running Criminal Background Checks? Be Careful, at Least in the Big Apple from The Wall Street Journal

"While criminal background checks are a common part of the hiring process for many companies, there has been legal pushback lately, with federal and state authorities both launching cases against employers they say are using the checks unfairly. How do you define unfair in this context? The thrust of complaints by both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and New York State has been that blanket rejection of all applicants with a criminal background is not OK — especially if it can be proven that such a practice has a disproportionate impact on black or other minority applicants."

2) Small Business Employment Guide: Five Important Laws to Know from Monster

"The myriad of state and Federal laws that govern the workplace are complex. Understanding employment law can be confusing, whether you are a small business-owner, a new business-owner, or an employer who hasn’t had a chance to review employment policies for a while."

3) EEOC Continues Focus on Background Checks with New Guidance from Monster Thinking

"The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made background checks a hot topic as of late, and from the looks of things, the Commission’s focus in this area isn’t letting up. In April 2012, the EEOC released guidance reinforcing the EEOC’s position that the use of arrest and conviction records to make employment decisions can violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. With that guidance, the Commission reminded employers that applicants’ conviction records should only be considered if they are job related and consistent with business necessity."

4) Pre-Hire Peril: Avoid Self-sabotage through Background Checks from Employment Law Reporter

"In a joint publication of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, these federal agencies have issued a Guidance to Employers in which they discussed the common practice of using background checks to select employees. It should be noted that the Guidance does not make reference to state background check laws which may augment federal requirements."

5) What You Should Know: Questions and Answers About the Equal Pay Act from U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

"EEOC enforces the Equal Pay Act (EPA). The EPA prohibits pay discrimination based on sex, but it is limited to pay discrimination between employees who are performing the same job at the same location."

6) EEOC Newsroom from U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

"Welcome to the EEOC's Virtual Newsroom, which offers a wide range of information and materials on the Commission's history, functions, procedures, programs, actions and staff, on the statutes we enforce, and on related research, data and statistics. We encourage everyone to browse and search through our continually updated Press Kit, which provides extensive background and context for virtually any question."

7) Employment Law Articles from AOL

This article contains a list of articles related to employment law.

Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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