Your business has decided it needs more employees, or a position within your company has opened up. The time has come to hire someone. But as with almost anything that involves labor and employment law, the hiring process is rife with potential legal landmines. The actions your business takes could inadvertently expose it to liability.
Before you hire, it’s a good idea to practice the steps listed below. Rosenbaum & Taylor can assist with any and all legal aspects that affect your New York business.
Establish Written Standards Before You Hire Someone
Your company should adopt written criteria for the position for which you are hiring. This is the case regardless of the position or pay, or whether the job is full-time, part-time, seasonal, or contractor. Whatever the position is, written standards keep your company transparent and honest.
The standards should, at the very least, contain the following information:
- Name or title of the position
- Location of the position
- Pay (including bonuses) and benefits
- Essential tasks and occasional tasks (if any)
- Required background experience and education
- The identities of any individuals the employee will report to
- Any sort of performance review criteria you intend to use
You may need additional details, depending on the position. But the more information is written down, the better. The standards should be followed once they are written down and modified as needed. It is much more difficult to accuse a business of legal impropriety for hiring according to its own criteria.
Establish Written Procedures
Closely related to the hiring standards are the hiring procedures. It’s not just a matter of the position for which you are hiring, but how you intend to fill it. For instance, how many candidates will be considered? Will there be stages of interviews? How long will the position be held open?
Remember, it’s imperative to not just write down these procedures but to ensure they are followed. Following your procedures to the letter will help avoid questions (which can invite legal issues) such as:
- Why wasn’t the position held open longer?
- Why weren’t more candidates considered?
- Why did I need to complete so many interviews?
To ensure your hiring criteria and procedures are being followed, everything must be documented. It’s not possible to create an exhaustive list of everything, but these are some examples of what to document:
- The job posting itself
- Where the job posting was listed (e.g. which websites, job banks, newspapers, etc.)
- When the job was posted and when it was removed
- The reason it was removed (e.g. the position was filled or the posting expired)
- Who was interviewed, when, where, and by whom
- What was discussed during the interview
- Whether any follow-up contact with the interview subject was made
- If the position was filled, any notes concerning the hiring decision
Also keep copies of resumes, emails, and other records. All of this information should be kept in a safe but readily accessible location.
Any time you hire someone, and don’t hire someone else, there’s a chance you could face criticism. If the candidate you ultimately hired was well-qualified, it’s less of a problem. Again, this should be backed up by your hiring criteria and procedures.
But there’s always a chance your business will be accused of hiring discrimination or other actions that could invoke legal issues. Always be ready to defend the hiring decision you made in light of the law.
Let Our Experienced New York Business Lawyers Advise You
Finally, contact an experienced business law attorney if you have questions about hiring. Your company may be subject to a number of state and federal laws concerning various employment matters. Don’t unnecessarily expose your business to liability by breaking the law. Call Rosenbaum & Taylor today.