As a small business owner with employees, the importance of having a hiring process in place cannot be overstated. Although every hiring process is slightly different, your company should be sure that your hiring process includes the following steps, and that each part of the process complies with relevant laws:
Interviewing prospective employees is a very effective way of finding the right individual to hire. However, you should be careful when choosing which questions to ask a prospective employee. Employers may not ask certain questions that directly elicit information regarding a protected class, such as race, sex, religion, or age. You must therefore be careful when crafting interview questions relating to such information.
An offer letter is an important document for prospective employees to sign because it often functions as an employment agreement, but does not necessarily contractually bind the employer like a formal employment agreement. An effective offer letter should include general employment information such as compensation, hours, job duties, and benefits. Additionally, it should describe whether the employment relationship is at-will, meaning that the employee can be terminated at any time for any reason.
You should be sure that all new employees sign an offer letter before their first day of work, as evidence of their understanding of the terms of employment.
Employee handbooks provide employees with guidance on all your company’s policies, and should be given to all employees upon their hire. An employee handbook should provide guidance on your company’s attendance policy, sexual harassment policy, and grievance process, among other policies and procedures. If the employee has any doubt regarding a specific policy or what is expected of them, they can simply refer to the employee handbook for guidance.
All employees should sign an acknowledgment indicating that they read and understood the policies. A well-written employee handbook provides your company with the necessary protections by including all relevant provisions in compliance with applicable law, which may protect your company from potential issues and liabilities in the future.
This post was written by Company Counsel attorney Jon Thielen. Mr. Thielen focuses his practice on new business formations, contract law, and employment litigation.