Nonprofits have employment and human resource needs, some unique to their status as exempt organizations

Nonprofits have employment and human resource needs, some unique to their status as exempt organizations

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2023 | Employment Law

As a nonprofit organization, you are organized to promote religious, scientific or educational purposes, or to advance the interests of your particular profession or industry. At the same time, the employment laws that govern employment in the private sector by and large also apply to nonprofits. In fact, nonprofits even have additional issues under the Internal Revenue Code, such as “excessive compensation” and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley bill (protecting “whistleblowers). The attorneys at Howe Hutton Ltd are here to help you know, understand, navigate and comply with the employment laws that apply to nonprofits, including reviewing and/or drafting employee handbooks, policies, procedures and contracts.

Personnel practices

We can help you with hiring, managing, and terminating employees. This includes advice on what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) permits or does not permit employers to inquire into at the pre-hiring, offer, and post-offer stages (e.g., questions re disability, arrest/conviction records, pay history); advice on what constitutes and how to avoid unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation (including advice on sexual harassment policies and investigation of complaints); and compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and other federal, state and local statutes (down to the county and city level). If it becomes necessary to terminate an employee’s employment with your nonprofit, we can also advise you on how to go about carrying out the decision; advising on whether or not to offer a severance package; and assisting you in drafting and negotiating a severance agreement, if that is the decision.


The attorneys at Howe & Hutton, Ltd., can also advise and assist you in negotiating, drafting or reviewing employment contracts, policies and procedures.

Employee policies, procedures and handbooks

If you already have employee policies, procedures and handbook, we can review those for legal sufficiency and identify potential problems. We can then help modify them to better protect your nonprofit from employment law litigation. This is especially important now, with the National Labor Relations Board taking a very active role in scrutinizing employee handbook policies (the National Labor Relations Act protects employees’ rights to engage in “protected concerted activity” concerning the terms and conditions of employment, regardless of whether a Union is involved or not).

Nonprofit compliance

As you know, there are IRS, Department of Labor and state regulations that apply to nonprofit organizations, in particular, in the employment context, rules on “excessive compensation”; proper classification of workers as “exempt” or “nonexempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act and proper classification of workers as employees or independent contractors under DOL and IRS regulations and common law. Howe & Hutton offers advice and guidance on all these topics.