Avoiding Legal Trouble

Legal Bloopers Employers Often Make While Hiring

Mistakes made during the hiring process can be very costly and cumbersome for employers. Employers need to make sure that they prevent possible lawsuits and other legal repercussions by carefully contemplating their hiring practices and instituting policies that keep them protected. 

The following are five mistakes employers should avoid if they want to keep their new hires happy and secure in their employment:

Neglecting I-9's until its too late

It's easy to overlook I-9's for employers who are in a hurry to fill open positions. Yet employers need to be aware of the fact that a new employee might be delaying on submitting identification papers because he or she isn't legally authorized to work in the country. 

Filling out I-9 forms and verifying new hires' legal right to work should be done before every employee's first day of work. 

Violating Fair Credit Reporting Act provisions

The Fair Credit Reporting Act details employees' rights when it comes to background checks. Employees need to receive documentation explaining that you're looking into their backgrounds, so be sure to familiarize yourself with FCRA provisions to avoid violations. 

Asking inappropriate legal questions

You should discuss your hiring process with your company's lawyer and ask your lawyer for input regarding all communication that takes place between you and your potential employees.

If you ask the wrong questions during hiring, you could be hit by a lawsuit by employees who feel that their rights have been violated. Sensitive interview subjects include religious affiliations, disability status, and the potential need for an upcoming maternity leave.

Being cautious with restrictive covenants

Employers sometimes use restrictive covenants to prevent employees from using the skills and knowledge they learn while working to compete with the company after their employment ends. 

While restrictive covenants can help protect an employer's investment of time and money in the new hire, courts do not often look kindly on this type of legal agreement because it restricts competition in the marketplace. Consultation with an employment lawyer is therefore especially important for employers who impose restrictive covenant agreements. 

Not clearly establishing hiring policy

Employees should discuss hiring policies with their lawyers to make sure that they are not likely to violate any employment and labor laws. A failure to construct carefully designed hiring policies can leave employers susceptible to both lawsuits and failures to meet their responsibilities regarding factors such as health benefits, worker's compensation, overtime pay, and more.

Even before the first job announcement is posted, employers should develop an employee handbook that details their hiring policies. They should furnish each new hire with a copy of this employee handbook to both inform employees and provide a legal shield against accusations of unfair hiring practices. 

Contact a legal office like Alterman & Associates LLC for more details.