On Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to the Human Resource Association of Greater New Haven. My sincere thanks to them for the invitation.
The group asked me to talk about various legal traps employers face in the hiring process and solutions to avoiding those issues. Here are some of the points we talked about.
- Don’t Ask Bad Interview Questions – This is, in some ways, the easiest area to fix. There are several types of questions that are (mostly) improper for employers to ask, such as, “Are you disabled?” or “Are you planning on having kids soon?”. I’ve talked about this before, but the key is to plan your questions ahead of time and know which areas to avoid.
- Train Your Managers – Now that you know which questions are proper or improper to ask, be sure to let your hiring supervisors who are doing many of these interviews what the rules are as well. Don’t assume that they will ask good questions. Provide some training to them to give them the do’s and don’ts in the hiring process.
- Check the I-9s. This is an area that can be overlooked, but it is important for employers to review the proper documentation at the time of an employee’s hire. New employees who forget their identification papers in the hopes that you’ll forget about it in a few days are cause for concern. Beyond that, be sure to keep your documentation on this or you’ll be susceptible to a government audit.
- Comply with FCRA. Do you use a third-party to do background checks on new hires? If so, be sure to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which mandates certain documentation be provided to employees and certain procedures to be followed. I’ve talked about it in a prior post as well.
- Implement Restrictive Covenants at Hiring. When you use restrictive covenants (such as non-solicitation provisions) for your key employees, be sure to have that paperwork done at the time of an offer, or, on the employee’s first day at work. While continued employment could be enough consideration in some agreements, making a new job contingent on the restrictive covenants is a near sure-fire way to make sure there is sufficient consideration. Some states, like Oregon, even mandate it in their laws.