March 13, 2024

In today’s modern workplace, employees are scattered across different cities, states and countries, making it that much more difficult for companies to stay in compliance. But there is an answer. Taking a location-based approach to compliance training can enable your company to focus on the laws and regulations that are specific to each employee, while building a culture of inclusion, respect and raising awareness of local safety hazards. 

By training employees about their individual rights, protections and responsibilities under laws specific to where they work, content becomes more relevant, and employers can avoid accidental non-compliance. Let’s look at the three ways that location-based training can make a difference for your organization. 

Three ways location-based compliance training can make a difference. 

1. Stay compliant with laws and regulations that can vary by locale 

Depending on where your employees are located, federal, state and local laws and regulations can influence the content and emphasis of the compliance training they receive. Multinational employers have the added responsibility of addressing the local laws and regulations in each country where a company operates.  

For example, federal employment laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), set minimum levels for employment practices across the country. Many states have enacted their own supplemental employment laws. For example, under federal law, employers must pay overtime when non-exempt employees work more than 40 hours in a single work week. However, 19 states have set their own rules. California and others require overtime when employees work more than 8 hours a day.  

Municipalities can have employment laws that differ from state laws, making it essential that compliance training cover the laws that apply to the jurisdiction an employee works in.  

2. Build a culture of inclusion and respect across all business locations 

Fostering a work environment that’s inclusive and respectful is key in building a collaborative and innovative workforce. Providing compliance training tailored to the anti-discrimination and anti-harassment statutes where individuals work is essential to raising employee awareness of what misconduct is and how to address and report it.  

Federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the American Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibit discrimination based on age, genetic information, disability, national origin, color, religion, pregnancy or sex. Some states and municipalities have enacted laws that go further in providing discriminatory protections. Under some state laws, including California’s, marital status is a protected characteristic. New York City recently banned discrimination in employment based on an individual’s height and weight. 

At the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws related to workplace discrimination and harassment and recommends that employers in all states provide anti-harassment training to all employees regularly. Six states have gone a step further to mandate sexual harassment training for employees, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine and New York. Chicago and New York City have also set their own harassment training requirements for employees working in those jurisdictions. 

Even where harassment prevention training is not required by statute, employers who provide training to all employees may be able to reduce any potential liability if an employee ever brings a harassment claim. 

3. Raise awareness of local safety hazards 

No matter the industry, employers must provide employees with a safe work environment, including those who work remotely. Workplace safety requirements are set by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). However, states often have their own safety training requirements and industry regulations that meet or exceed federal OSHA.  

California became the nation’s first state to enact a workplace violence prevention law that applies to nearly every employer in the state. Effective June 1, 2024, the law requires employers to have a written workplace violence plan, maintain a violent incident log and provide annual training to employees.  

Other states and cities are considering similar laws to protect employees’ safety. The work location and potential hazards an employee may encounter in their job are paramount to determining what training they should receive. 

Tailoring compliance training to the specific laws, priorities and challenges of an employee’s locale enables them to effectively perform their job and comply with international and US requirements of businesses. Partnering with a compliance training provider that possesses in-house legal expertise can help employers navigate the complexities of global, federal, state and local laws to ensure that employees receive applicable, accurate and up-to-date training, no matter where they work. 


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Mark Hudson