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 leaders still stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to attitudes about pregnancy, childbirth and child care? You might be a few off-base questions away from a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. Remind managers and supervisors to keep their opinions on mothers and motherhood to themselves.

There’s a hefty price to pay when a company doesn’t trust its employees, and employees don’t trust their company. Stephen M.R. Covey, son of the 7 Habits author, argues that if you don’t have a high-trust organization, you’re actually paying taxes on everybody’s suspicions.

Movers who work for All My Sons Moving & Storage can check online to learn if they need to make the trip to headquarters to pick up a truck. CFO Ormando Gomez is recruiting more Internet-savvy movers—by using the Internet to recruit them.

Sometimes, the HR business makes for strange bedfellows. Consider what happened in one recent case when the U.S. Department of Justice sued the city of Dayton, claiming its rules for hiring police officers and firefighters unfairly screened out black candidates. The police and firefighters union stepped in to intervene in the litigation.

For the second time in a year, a North Carolina Compare Foods store has settled discrimination charges with the EEOC. As in the earlier case, this one—involving a store in Statesville—involved accusations that workers had been fired because they weren’t Hispanic.

Q. We offered a job to an applicant who was located out of state. We orally promised her a position and gave her a start date. As the date grew closer and we were finalizing the offer letter, there was a hiring freeze and we had to withdraw the offer. She has now threatened to sue us. Does she have a case?

A state court of appeals recently ruled that Richmond-based Dicon Fiberoptics adequately pleaded its claim against California’s Franchise Tax Board in a case involving a tax credit for hiring disadvantaged workers.

Q. To prevent productivity and morale problems, we would like to adopt a policy stating the company will not hire the spouses of current employees. Would this be lawful?

Courts give employers the benefit of a doubt when it comes to the qualifications they seek in job candidates, and the questions they ask during interviews. As long as the criteria and questions are job-related and not otherwise illegal, courts grant wide latitude. But once you decide on hiring criteria and use them to rank candidates, resist the temptation to go back and tinker with the rankings.

When Gov. David Paterson was Senate minority leader in 2003, he fired a white photographer and replaced him with a less qualified black one. Now the state has agreed to settle the original photographer’s lawsuit for $300,000 while admitting no wrongdoing.

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