Does This Law Apply to My Organization?

Author: Irene Stavrellis Englert

Whether a law applies to a particular employer depends on several factors, including the employer's size.

The following Quick Reference chart helps an employer determine whether certain federal statutes apply to it. Some of these statutes contain exclusions for social and religious organizations not addressed in this chart.

This chart addresses federal laws only; similar laws at the state level may have different thresholds. To see the applicable laws at the state level, view the state charts below.

Unless otherwise stated, all of these laws apply to private employers, but some also apply to public employers at the federal and/or the state, city or county level. This chart shows the threshold number of employees for an employer to comply with the law, as well as whether the law also applies to applicable public workers.

For additional information concerning the laws below, click the link on the law name.

  Number of Employees Public (federal) employer Public (state) employer

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

15+

Yes

Yes

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

20+

Yes i

Yes

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

20+

No

Yes

Drug Free Workplace Act ii

1+

Yes

Yes

Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA)

1+

No

No

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

1+

No

No

Equal Pay Act

1+

Yes

Yes

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) iii

1+

Yes

Yes

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

50+ iv

Yes

Yes

Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA)

1+

Yes

Yes

Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)

1+

Yes

No

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

15+

Yes

Yes

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) - Employee Verification

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) - as amended by IRCA


1+




4+


4+


4-14

Yes

Yes

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) vi

1+

No

Yesvii

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)

1+

Yesviii

Yesix

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA)

1+

Yes

Yes

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

15+

Yes

Yes

Privacy Act of 1974 x

1+

Yes

No

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

Applies to certain publicly held employers regardless of size.

No

No

Social Security Act (SSA)

1+

Yes

Yes

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

15+

Yes

Yes

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

1+

Yes

Yes

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)

100+

No

No


i - The sections of the ADEA pertaining to federal government employees are separate from those pertaining to private-sector and state employees.

ii - Applies to all employers, private or public, that have federal grants or contracts.

iii - The FLSA covers private-sector employers if at least two employees are engaged in interstate commerce activities and if the employer's annual volume of business is at least $500,000. Most employers are covered under this standard because most employers' activities will involve interstate commerce. Hospitals, schools and other institutions also are covered. Individual employees of otherwise-non-covered employers may be covered if they are engaged in interstate commerce as well.

iv - Public-sector (state) employees are covered under the FMLA regardless of the employer's size. Most public-sector (federal) employees are covered because they fall under the US Office of Personnel Management regulations. Private employers, however, are covered only if they have 50 or more employees.

v - The EEOC enforces Title VII, which prohibits national origin discrimination, against an employer with 15 or more employees.

vi - Whether an employer is covered by the NLRA is determined by whether the employer impacts interstate commerce. The following employers impact interstate commerce: (a) retail or service establishments with gross receipts of at least $500,000 per year; (b) manufacturing companies shipping at least $50,000 worth of goods across state lines; and (c) manufacturing companies purchasing at least $50,000 worth of goods from out of state.

vii - Most public-sector employees are provided similar rights under state and/or local laws.

viii - Federal agencies are required to have a safety and health program meeting the same standards as private employers. Federal agencies are not fined for OSH Act violations, but OSHA monitors and responds to complaints made by federal workers.

ix - States may create an OSHA-approved state plan. A state that chooses to create its own plan must cover state-level public employees.

x - This law does not apply to private employers, and it applies only to certain federal employers.

State Requirements

The following states have additional requirements for this topic under applicable state law.