IT’S TIME TO HIRE NEW EMPLOYEES – HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS WHILE YOU ARE GROWING IT?

According to a “Las Vegas Review-Journal” article in January 2016, if job creation stays at its current rate, Nevada’s small businesses should reach peak employment by late 2016. Managers within small businesses are looking to fill their ranks with new employees.

If your business is among those looking to grow, you must make sure that you start the process in a way that will enable you to hire qualified individuals without exposing your business to liability.  Employment litigation is one of the fastest growing areas of litigation that employers face. Employers may face legal exposure, not just from conduct after hiring an employee, but from conduct during the hiring process itself.

Which tools should you keep in your toolbox and how should you use them when you start the hiring process? As with all things business related, Gordon Law recommends you make, maintain and keep documentation associated with your hiring process.  At a minimum, we recommend that you maintain the following:

  1. An accurate job description for the position. You should be certain to include the essential job functions of the position along with identification of expectations and metrics for measurement of performance;
  2. Hiring processes and procedures. You should set forth how you seek prospective employees and what objective factors you are including in your identification of meritorious employees; and
  3. Keep all of the applications and/or resumes you receive.

Beyond your hiring tools, you should be certain that you are not violating any laws or regulations in your hiring and interview process. The best way to do this is to know about protected classifications and avoid discrimination. You should not ask questions, nor base hiring decisions, that relate to the following:

  1. Age
  2. Gender identification
  3. Disability
  4. Ethnic origin
  5. Marital status

You should also be aware of the new trend known as “Ban the Box.” Since 2009, 21 states have adopted a policy requiring the removal of the criminal conviction history question on job applications.  Although there is no such law in Nevada yet, it is anticipated that one will be under consideration in the 2017 Legislative Session.  Furthermore, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Obama Administration have proposed policies that direct both public and private employers to refrain from asking about criminal convictions. According to the National Employment Law Project, there are now more than 185 million people in the United States (over half the population) who live in a “ban the box” jurisdiction.

Once you have identified your new employee, make sure that your hiring decision is predicated on a legitimate, non-discriminatory basis. You should document the objective standards that caused you to offer employment to a particular candidate.  Furthermore, if there is more than one qualified candidate for the same position, you should document why you decided on Candidate A instead of Candidate B.

Gordon Law is here to assist you with any human resources questions or other areas of inquiry that affect your business.

In answering the question, let’s start with the definition of a document retention policy. Instead of using unnecessary legal terminology, consider the policy as simply a document management policy. In the course of your business, you will likely have pages and pages of documents either in hard copy or in electronic copy. A good document management policy will provide you with a guideline as to what you must, should or can keep, and give you the liberty to destroy what you do not need.

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