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State Employment Laws South Carolina Employers Should Know

Every state has its own set of laws that dictate how employment must be carried out within its borders. These laws apply to all employment and outline responsibilities and rights for both employers and employees. 

As an employer in South Carolina, it’s extremely important to be up to date on all the state’s employment laws. If you’re not, it could be very costly, as you could be susceptible to lawsuits and fines. 

Below is a brief list of some of the state employment laws South Carolina employers should know. 

At-Will 

South Carolina follows what’s called at-will employment. This means that if an employee is hired for a job that doesn’t have a definite start and end date, the relationship between them and the employer is considered “employment-at-will.” 

What this means is that either the employee or the employer has the ability to end the working relationship at any time and for any reason. Employers don’t even need to have a reason for firing an employee in South Carolina, as long as it doesn’t break state law. 

Drug Testing and Background Checks 

Employers in South Carolina are allowed to drug test applicants during the recruitment process. The results of those tests — as well as any other related information gathered during the hiring process — have to be kept confidential. 

The state also has a Drug-Free Workplace Act that employers can participate in on a voluntary basis. If they decide to do so, they have to meet certain additional requirements. 

Employers are also allowed to consider past criminal convictions in hiring decisions. In general, employers can ask applicants about any arrest and conviction during the application process, though there could be different rules locally. 

Some employers in the state are actually required to perform background checks on applicants, including private security firms, fire departments, alcohol retailers and school districts. 

Medical Testing 

Employers can’t conduct medical examinations of job applicants or make any inquiries regarding whether they have a disability. The only medical-related thing they may inquire about is whether the applicant is able to perform the duties of the job to which they are applying. 

Medical examinations of prospective employees may be required by employers only after they extend a formal employment offer. Even then, though, the exam must be required of every applicant and be related to the job in question. 

Fair Employment 

Any employer that has at least 15 employees must adhere to the South Carolina Human Affairs Law, also known as SCHAL. This law prohibits discrimination based on certain protected characteristics, including race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin.  

In addition, the law prohibits harassment in the workplace based on any of these characteristics, as well as retaliation being taken against anyone who is against discrimination.  

Accommodations for Pregnancy 

The same group of employers with at least 15 employees must adhere to the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act. It says that all companies have to provide “reasonable accommodations” to people who have medical needs related to a pregnancy, to child birth or to any medical conditions related to it. 

This could include providing people with longer or more frequent breaks, a private place in the office — not counting a bathroom stall — where they can express milk, a modified policy for drink and food, help with certain manual labor, a modified job schedule and more. 

Working Ages 

South Carolina has child labor laws in place to protect children and prevent them from working in certain places and for certain time periods. Every minor, no matter their age, can’t work in any working conditions that would be considered hazardous. 

Any minor under 16 years old are also prohibited from being employed in certain occupations such as construction, warehousing and manufacturing.  

In addition, children who are 14 and 15 years old can’t work during school hours, more than 40 hours per week when school is out or more than 18 hours per week when school is in session, before 7 a.m., after 7 p.m. during the school year and after 9 p.m. during summer break. 

Time Off 

Employers in South Carolina are required to provide their employees with both time off as well as leaves of absences for certain situations. 

This includes maternity leave — for any employer that has at least 15 employees — as well as leave for jury duty, crime victim, military service, emergency responder and quarantine/isolation requirements. 

Understand South Carolina Employment Laws with Beckham Insurance Group 

This is only a brief summary of the basic employment laws in South Carolina. There are many more, some of which can get complicated based on the industry you’re in, the type of work you do and how many people you employ. 

Navigating the confusing web of South Carolina employment law can be confusing at times, which is why it’s great to have an experienced partner on your side. By working with Beckham Insurance Group, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your company is following all of the state’s employment laws to the “T.” 

For more information about how we can help you, please contact us today.