Hiring

When hiring employees, negligent hiring practices can doom the process. Learn from your colleagues’ successes – and avoid their pitfalls.

Smart interview questions, well-written job descriptions, and sharp interviewing result in hiring employees that work out well, AND make you look good in the process.

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Are some of your organization’s supervisors still stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to attitudes about pregnancy, childbirth and child care? If so, your organization may be a few off-base questions away from triggering a discrimination lawsuit. Remind managers and supervisors to keep their opinions on mothers and motherhood to themselves.

During a time of layoffs and budget cuts, you might not think a lot of organizations would be encouraging their employees to take lengthy sabbaticals—or that employees would feel secure enough to accept the offer. Yet six-week to six-month job pauses remain as common as ever. There are good reasons why the sabbatical is enduring even as other benefits become expendable.

Tens of thousands of homes that were appraised prior to the real estate crash are valued (for property tax purposes) at higher levels than today’s housing prices. Strategy: Appeal a property tax assessment if you have reasonable grounds. If your appeal is successful, your property-tax bill will be reduced. But you may have to move quickly. Here are five tips:

The owner and two managers of a Houston-based used clothing exporting business were recently sentenced to prison for conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants. During a raid at Action Rags USA Inc. last year, ICE agents arrested 166 undocumented workers from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The Minnesota Legislature recently enacted a law designed to protect employers from some of the legal risks that may accompany hiring people with criminal backgrounds. The law is designed to help those who have served their sentences re-enter society as productive citizens.

Q. Many of our employees have children who will return to school this month. Are we required to grant these employees time off for school-related activities?

Q. We suspected an employee was using drugs, so we sent him to be tested. We told him he couldn’t work until the test came back in two days. The results were negative. Do we owe him wages for those two days?

Here’s one easy way to cut down on lawsuits when you have to fire an employee: Have the same person who hired or last promoted the employee also make the final decision on termination. Reason: Courts often conclude that it would make no sense for those who hired or promoted someone to turn around and fire that same person for discriminatory reasons.

When the person who hires someone is the same one who conducts the firing, courts typically discount the idea that discrimination was involved. After all, why would someone who hired an applicant discriminate later because of that person’s age, race or sex? But be aware that the defense doesn’t always work if there is clear discrimination evidence.

Terminations aren’t always clean. Sometimes they’re damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situations. That’s often so when you conclude that an employee harassed another and must be terminated. With nothing to lose, the fired employee may try to concoct a discrimination lawsuit.

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