Small Business Employment Guide: Do You Understand the Legal Hiring Process
Owning and operating a small business is a great accomplishment, and as profits increase, you will likely be faced with the need to hire more staff. This is an opportunity to expand your team, add talent to your business and invest in the future of the company. Hiring is a complicated process, though, and a simple misstep can have long-lasting consequences. Referring to a small business employment guide can help you navigate the employment process and ensure compliance with all local, state and federal legislature. The best way to get up to speed on the basics of fair hiring is to familiarize yourself with some of the United State’s most important federal laws.
American With Disabilities Act
The ADA, Americans With Disabilities Act, is one of the most oft-cited, yet oft-misunderstood laws applicable to hiring practices covered in the small business employment guide. It was passed in 1990 with the purpose of preventing discrimination against disabled persons, including being discriminated against in hiring practices. Though candidates must be capable of performing all essential job functions, it is illegal to assess and decide a person’s candidacy based on a disability, as defined and qualified by the act.
ADA states that a person is disabled if he or she possesses an impairment, mental or physical, which prohibits them from engaging in a major life function. As of 1994, this standard applies to hiring for private employers, government organizations and small businesses with 15 or more employees. In order to maintain compliance, you should never mention a disabilityïeven if a candidate discloses itïand you should recruit, pay, promote and train disabled job candidates the same way you do with any other candidates.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Aging job seekers face certain disadvantages in their search for work, but the Age Discrimination in Employment Actïbetter known as ADEAïseeks to negate the biases associated with a candidate’s age. It was written into law in 1967, and it applies to candidates over the age of 40. It made age limits for hiring illegal, with a few exceptions, and provided for fair and equal working conditions regardless of an employee’s age. Small business owners who have reviewed the small business employment guide know that referencing age in a job posting, interview or workplace is typically a violation of this law.
To comply with ADEA, and to prevent discrimination in general, you should avoid mentioning anything related to physical characteristics and instead focus on qualifications for the job. Older candidates for a position should be fairly considered the same way any other applicant would be, and hinting at ageïeven without explicitly mentioning itïcan still constitute a violation. You may be able to infer an applicant’s age from their resume or voice on the phone, but discriminating on this basis is wrong.
National Labor Relations Act
Some small businesses make the mistake of assuming that the National Labor Relations Act, or NLRA, applies only to employees who are part of a union group. This is incorrect, and there are actually only a few key exclusions to the mandates of this law. It was enacted on July 5, 1953, and is designed to empower employees who, prior to the law, possessed very little power in negotiating favorable employment terms. The NLRA imposes collective bargaining as the resolution, but it can be difficult to decipher exactly how this law applies to a small business.
Though this law is designed primarily with already-hired employees in mind, it is included in the small business employment guide because it does apply to your recruiting practices. In order to comply with the NLRA, you must not impede any employee from practicing collective bargaining, and you also must not discriminate against hiring any person who is a member of a union. It also means that asking potential or existing employees to sign any agreement compromising their ability to strike, unionize or bargain is usually not legal.
Tips for Establishing Compliant Hiring Practices
Successfully running a small business isn’t easy, but hiring is one area you should be especially careful in. If you have access to an employment lawyer or other qualified consultant, they may be able to help you better understand hiring laws and their application to small businesses. In the meantime, the small business employment guide can provide much of the advice you need, and you should keep in mind that everybody deserves a fair shake at a job. Be open-minded, and don’t judge applicants before learning about their qualifications.
When in doubt, Mighty Recruiter is your go-to guide, so utilize the resources found here to jump start your hiring process.