There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a significant shift in how many people work. For example, many office workers had to adjust to working from home.
Of course, businesses everywhere have continued to hire new employees since the pandemic hit, with some individuals forging new careers due to getting laid off in specific industries like hospitality.
The trouble is that some of those firms are making potentially catastrophic legal mistakes with their new hires. Moreover, those businesses often don’t realize they are falling afoul of the law!
You may think only startups make those legal mistakes, but some established businesses do the same thing. In no particular order, here are the top five legal problems firms must avoid when they hire new talent:
1. Inadequate or Non-Existent Contracts
When a business offers someone a job, it’s standard practice to have them read through and sign an employment contract. Such agreements outline all kinds of details, such as the terms of employment, salary, job description, and more.
The trouble is, some firms give employees inadequate contracts to sign, or worse, no contract at all. Avoid making such a big mistake, or you’re likely to have employment lawyers contacting you about how you may be exploiting their client (your employee)!
2. No Confidentiality Agreements
As a business, you want to ensure that your intellectual property and trade secrets don’t end up in the wrong hands. While it doesn’t happen often, companies can sometimes send staff to work at a competing business to learn any secret information.
Firms must have confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements in place for new hires. If the above were to happen to them, they have the legal ammunition they need to seek damages from their competitors.
3. Wrongly Classifying Employees and Contractors
It’s no secret that classifying some employees as contractors means firms can save significant sums of money on employee-related costs. However, following such a practice is seldom a good idea when you know those people should get classed as employees.
For example, the IRS can issue legal proceedings against your business, and such a lawsuit could effectively shut down your firm. To that end, you must ensure you’re correctly classifying people as employees or contractors.
4. Asking Disallowed Interview Questions
The law forbids employers from asking candidates specific types of questions at interviews due to discrimination. For instance, you can’t ask people about their religious persuasion or sexuality to help you hire the right people.
Be very careful about the questions hiring managers ask people at job interviews. Always research the questions beforehand to ensure they comply with all relevant employment and discrimination laws.
5. Not Making Job Offer Terms Clear
Lastly, if you’re going to offer someone a job, you must make it clear to them what you’re proposing. Never assume that the candidates in question thoroughly understand the nature of the job or specifics like salary, payments, commission structures, and overtime rates.
Ensure that you offer all new hires a detailed offer letter, and if they’re happy with the details, they can sign an employment contract to that effect.