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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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If you don’t have accurate and up-to-date job descriptions, you’re probably courting trouble—especially if an employee develops a disability and wants a reasonable accommodation. That’s because what an employee considers a job’s essential functions may not jibe with your assessment.

When Katie Brenny, a Little Falls native and former state high school golf champion, took a job at the University of Minnesota, she thought she was going to coach the women’s golf team. When that didn’t happen, she called a lawyer who is now threatening a lawsuit.
Employers have an obligation to try to prevent harassment when it erupts. But courts often give an “A” for effort. They won’t measure your efforts solely by whether your prevention strategy worked.

Many employers have lost failure-to-hire cases alleging age discrimination because a manager involved in the hiring process mentioned age at some point during the process. The comment need not even be made to the job applicant’s face. Anything age-related said to a co-worker is fair game in court, too.

North Carolina has stringent rules to ensure that employers test their employees for drug use in an accurate and reliable way. The law requires retaining enough of the blood or urine sample so a second test can be conducted if necessary. However, the law doesn’t require employers to tell employees about their retesting rights.

Effective Jan. 1, Illinois employers must comply with the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act, which severely restricts the use of an applicant or employee’s credit history in hiring, firing or promotions. Covered employers may not use credit reports or credit information from sources other than credit reporting agencies when evaluating employees or applicants.
Employees who provide information about possible discrimination to the EEOC are protected from retaliation for doing so. Courts generally protect the EEOC’s ability to conduct investigations. They don’t like to see cooperating employees discouraged from answering questions.

Have you ever thought of not hiring an applicant because he or she had previously declared bankruptcy? Maybe you thought that was discriminatory. But a court last month said, “Don’t worry.” Private employers won’t violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code if they refuse to hire. But firing based on bankruptcy status is another story …

Many companies design succession plans so they can spot the next generation of leaders early and develop current employees to their full potential. If your organization is involved in such a process, step back and look: Does everyone who is tapped for special treatment come from the same race or gender? Or does the chosen group exclude older workers or the disabled?
The Supreme Court's latest unanimous employment-law opinion found that two biased supervisors conspired to get HR to fire someone. The lesson is clear: HR must independently check supervisors’ disciplinary recommendations to ensure they have no ulterior motives.
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