During all phases of the hiring process, employers must be cognizant of hiring laws that protect candidates. Any indication of bias in the hiring process might result in serious legal repercussions. Here are some frequently asked questions about hiring laws.
1. Question: What Is the At-Will Doctrine?
The At-Will Doctrine means an employer may fire an employee or an employee may quit for any or no reason. A large majority of employees are considered at-will. In principle, this means workers’ continued work with the company is not guaranteed, and they may be dismissed without notice or cause. An employer can outline exceptions to the at-will doctrine in collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts, both of which potentially restrict the rights of employers to terminate employees.
2. Question: What Are the Differences Between Independent Contractors and Employees?
Independent contractors are self-employed individuals; they are not employed by a business. This distinction is critical because many employment laws, such as income tax withholding, overtime, unemployment insurance, nondiscrimination, and minimum wage laws, apply to employees only, not to independent contractors. In making this determination, the key issue is the extent of authority applied by the company over the worker. While the distinction is not always clear, most workers are employees. Misclassifying employees as independent contractors, whether on purpose or unintentionally, is a very common hiring law mistake made by businesses.
3. Question: Are Unpaid Internships Legal?
Unpaid internships must meet the following guidelines to be legal:
“There is no promise of a job at the conclusion of the internship.
“The organization receives no direct benefit from the actions of the intern.
“Interns realize they will not be paid any wages for time invested in the internship.
“The internship is in the interest of the intern.
“The internship is similar to training in an educational environment.
“Interns work under close supervision and do not displace regular employees.
The Wage and Hour Division states that a business may not receive any immediate advantage from an unpaid internship.
4. Question: When I Hire Someone, Do I Have to Use a Written Employment Contract?
No. The law does not compel employers to enter into written contracts with employees. However, a contract may be a wise idea, particularly if you are recruiting for a high-level position and want to ensure you retain the employee for a given period.
5. Question: How Far Can Background Checks Go?
When performing background checks, use caution to avoid invading the privacy of candidates, and consider the legal boundaries that apply to particular types of information and records. For instance, many states do not permit employers to use arrest records in making employment decisions. Some also restrict an employer’s right to review an applicant’s credit report or consider an adverse report as a reason for not selecting a candidate.
6. Question: What Should I Do Before Hiring My First Employee?
There are many practical and legal steps you must take when you hire your first employee. For instance, you need to register with your state’s labor department, obtain an employer ID number for tax reporting purposes, and post required notifications. Practical matters include getting insurance, setting up payroll withholding, and implementing good HR practices, such as drafting policies and establishing employee files.
7. Question: What Laws Must I Follow When Hiring New Employees?
Diverse federal and state laws dictate what employers can and cannot do throughout all aspects of the hiring process, such as:
“Avoiding illegal discrimination
“Respecting the applicant’s right to privacy
“Abiding by the legal rules for employing immigrants
“Refraining from delivering promises they cannot keep
“Following the legal guidelines for hiring young workers
These laws apply to everything from interviewing, background checks, testing, to choosing the final candidate.Employers should make themselves aware of the latest changes taking place with hiring laws. Doing so can go a long way in keeping them in business and out of the courtroom.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.