In our last article, “4 Tips for Preparing a Legally Sound Offer Letter” we covered important considerations when making an employment offer. Here we will discuss four additional practices that can provide further legal protection when hiring new employees.
1. Create an offer letter template. Developing an offer letter template provides control over language used and ensures consistency in the application of related policies. It is wise to have an attorney review the template prior to use.
2. Draft policies for at-will employment, medical screenings and background checks that are in compliance with applicable federal, state, local, and position-specific laws. States approach these issues differently, and many local governments have begun enacting employee protections. Certain occupations, such as health care providers and drivers, are heavily regulated for safety and security reasons. It is important to understand the laws and regulations that apply to your organization, and to develop policies that ensure compliance.
3. Engage a consumer-reporting agency to conduct background checks. Hiring a third party agency that is accredited and specializes in conducting background checks ensures not only that the information received is accurate, but also will assist an employer with meeting related Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements.
4. Consult an attorney when withdrawing an offer of employment based on results of a background check or medical screening. Given the complex nature of discrimination laws, employers should consult an attorney whenever withdrawing an offer of employment based on information that could be the basis of a discrimination complaint.
Expanding your workforce is an exciting and sometimes chaotic time. Implementing these best practices and taking a few precautionary measures can simplify the process while providing added protection from legal risk.