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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Q. We did a Google search on someone we wanted to hire and we found several pictures of the individual smoking and drinking alcohol at bars. We had wanted to hire this employee for a position in which he will work closely with clients and now we are having second thoughts. We certainly do not want him to smell like smoke when he meets with clients. Is there any legal problem with not hiring him?
Do you try to cut labor costs by hiring independent contractors to do employees’ jobs? If so, consider this risk: Both employees and independent contractors who do the same or similar work could join together and sue over unpaid wages and overtime.

Under limited circumstances, a job applicant might be able to win a discrimination lawsuit without actually applying for a job. For example, someone could conceivably prove that it would have been be futile to even bother filling out an application. Fortunately, such cases are rare.

InterCall, the world’s largest provider of teleconferencing services, will pay $700,000 to 151 minority job applicants after a DOL investigation concluded the company systematically excluded minority candidates from sales associate positions at its Chicago office in 2006 and 2007.
Not every employee is suited to promotion—something that may not become clear until far into the process. That’s why smart employers set reasonable expectations for training success and remain prepared to demote those who don’t make the cut.

Here’s some good news for employers that take sexual harassment complaints seriously. In Sutherland v. Wal-Mart, the 7th Circuit emphasized that an employer’s prompt response to an employee’s complaint of sexual harassment may protect it from liability.  

Q. We keep hearing that retaliation can be a bigger lawsuit worry for employers than even discrimination or harassment. What kinds of employment laws impose retaliation liability?

As part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the city of Dayton has revised its police entrance examination. The DOJ and Dayton had settled a 2009 suit involving allegations that the city discriminated against black applicants who applied for jobs in both the police and fire departments.

Here’s a new worry for employers: If you have a supervisor who makes hiring promises to an applicant that he knows the company can’t keep, the applicant may be able to sue for fraud.

Some employees and applicants think that if they sue often enough, they’ll eventually end up collecting the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Fortunately, judges don’t like wasting valuable courtroom time on meritless cases. More and more, they are blocking efforts to file additional lawsuits by employees acting as their own lawyers.

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