For-Profits and Non-Profits are More Similar Than You Think

by Brian J. Markovitz
August 13th, 2018

While it may at first glance seem that a non-profit organization’s philanthropic nature would set it apart from profit-driven business models, the legal reality of running a non-profit is actually often similar to that of a for-profit business. This is especially true regarding employer-employee relations, and the employer’s obligations to the employee under federal, state, and local employment laws and ordinances.  It is very rare indeed that employment-related, legal requirements are different for non-profit employers than that of companies. 

For instance, just like for-profit businesses, non-profits are obligated to obey the dictates of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA establishes the fundamental guidelines of employee rights. It prohibits child labor, for example, and mandates overtime pay for employees who have worked more than 40 hours in one week. Moreover, Title VII which protects employees from discrimination based on race, religion, and sex treats non-profit employers in most cases like other corporations. Similarly, the Family Medical Leave Act requirements are the same. Because non-profits are not asking employees to work for the profit of the business, they can fail to consider that they have essentially the same obligations to their employees as for-profit groups.

Non-profit organizations also need to understand state and local employment laws. State and local laws can vary greatly and are subject to change depending on local government administration. Therefore, non-profits would be well advised to work with a local attorney to ensure the non-profit’s compliance with state- and local-level employment law. Problems for non-profits sometimes arise when the non-profit’s management does not understand that sometimes state or local employment laws have more stringent requirements than federal law.

A non-profit organization should be able to focus all of its time and effort exclusively to the issues for which it works—hiring a lawyer to worry about the minutiae of employment law compliance can save an organization valuable time and effort and ensure that it does not run afoul of federal, state or local requirements.

Brian Markovitz is a principal in the firm’s Labor and Employment and Civil Litigation practice groups who focuses primarily on helping victims who have suffered severe injustice in the workplace. He represents individuals throughout Maryland, the Washington D.C. area and across the country in complex employment litigation and appellate matters involving wrongful termination, retaliation by employers in response to reporting fraud or misconduct and discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age and sexual orientation. 

Contact Brian Markovitz

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Disclaimer

The JGL Law Blog is made available by the Firm and/or the law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law. The JGL Law Blog is not designed to and does not provide specific legal advice. Use of, or comments on, this Blog does not create an Attorney Client Relationship with the Firm or any of the authors of the Blog Posts.

This blog is for general informational purposes only. Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA is a law firm and some of the information on the blog relates to legal topics. Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA does not offer or dispense legal advice through this blog or by e-mails directed to or from this site. By using the blog, the reader agrees that the information on this blog does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created between the reader and Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA or its attorneys. The blog is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your state. The information on the blog may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. While the blog is revised on a regular basis, it may not reflect the most current legal developments. The opinions expressed at or through the blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney. The JGL Law Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in Circular 230, we inform you that any tax advice contained on this site (including any links provided) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

˅