Employee management, particularly hiring and termination, can be one of the most challenging elements of running a business. It is also an area in which many businesses are inadequately prepared. As a result, problems arise ranging from wasted time and recreation of efforts to staffing gaps that hinder operations and even lawsuits.
Of course, it is not practical to consult an employment lawyer every time you need to address a problem with an employee, or even when you bring a new staff member on board or terminate an employee whose performance is not up to par. Counseling on hiring, retention, and termination of employees can provide exactly the middle ground your business needs.
When you work with an established employment attorney like the ones in our firm, you are provided with a solid balance for the welfare of your operation. Your executives, in-house legal team, and human resources departments can take advantage of the knowledge and guidance of experienced professionals, while retaining the autonomy and flexibility required to keep business flowing smoothly.
Key Issues in Employee Hiring
The hiring considerations most important to your company will depend on the nature of your business. For example, businesses hiring employees who handle sensitive customer information, have access to financial accounts, or enter customers homes may need to conduct background checks or take other precautions to ensure the suitability of those employees. Concerns will also vary depending upon the position for which a company is hiring. For example, executive hiring often involves negotiation on issues such as benchmarks, bonuses, equity, and scope of authority.
On the other hand, the creation of hiring requirements for many positions requires knowledge of anti-discrimination statutes and how they have been interpreted by courts. For instance, it is important that any testing, strength requirements, and other specifications required or considered in selecting employees for a position can be shown to be directly relevant to the ability to perform the work. Often blanket testing or requirements not tailored to specific positions can leave a company vulnerable.
Working with an experienced employment lawyer to create guidelines for your hiring staff and ensure that they have a ready source of legal information when issues arise can protect your business from liability and help keep your operations running efficiently.
Employee turnover is expensive and can interrupt the efficient flow of your business. Thus, it is generally in a company’s best interest to maintain a stable workforce. However, in incentivizing strong employees to stay, management must be cautious about taking actions that could be construed as discriminatory.
The best way to build a solid and effective retention plan while ensuring that you are legally compliant and protected is to receive counsel from an experienced employment lawyer.
Employee terminations is perhaps the area most fraught with potential legal conflicts. Occasionally employees move on simply because they have received a better offer or are relocating with family, but,typically, when an employee is separated from the company, one or both parties is dissatisfied. This can give rise to a host of issues, including wrongful termination claims.
Understanding how to create a record leading up to involuntary termination and what to say to the employee is critical to protecting your business from agency complaints and/or litigation. Remember that even an unfounded complaint or lawsuit can hurt your business in many ways, including:
- Distracting key personnel from their core functions
- Costing money for legal fees, experts witnesses and other expenses, even if you win
- Possible damage to your reputation
Managing the termination properly will go a long way toward mitigating this risk, but in some situations you may find it advantageous to offer a severance package and to include certain conditions and waivers in the severance agreement. This can also be a delicate negotiation and requires an understanding of the claims that are and are not legally subject to waiver.
Counseling on Employee Hiring, Retention and Termination Can Help Protect Your Business
When you work with an experienced employment lawyer to develop your policies and to educate your executives, human resources leaders, and hiring managers, you minimize the risk of a costly mistake in management of your employee relations. You also create a valuable resource in the form of a knowledgeable employment attorney who is familiar with your operations and policies and can answer questions and provide the guidance you need when difficult employment situations arise. Start building that relationship today to save your company time and money and your leadership stress and wasted time.