Yesterday, California attorney Allison West offered tips for avoiding defamation and fraud lawsuits. Today, her tips on recruiting, plus an introduction to a California-specific hiring resource no HR professional in our state should be without.
West is principal of Employment Practices Specialists in Pacifica. Here are her tips for avoiding hiring lawsuits:
- Insist that applicants fill out application forms and then be sure to read the completed application, looking for gaps in employment and missing information.
- Check references and authenticate credentials. Reference checking can be difficult, West says, but you have to make your best effort. Consider criminal background checks appropriate to the position being sought (for example, positions dealing with children or the public). Be sure to comply with FCRA!
- Train your interviewers about your policies and practices regarding background checks. Insist that they document all steps taken even if they were unsuccessful in obtaining information.
- Create and follow an interview checklist.
Don’t Renege On Your Promises
When employers make promises and then renege, it could bring a charge of fraud, West says. The standard would be that the employer intentionally deceived the employee concerning a material fact and that the employee reasonably relied on the false representation and was damaged.
How to hire without fear in California—learn more.
West’s basic rule is simple: Be truthful. When you are “selling” a prospective employee, be sure to avoid overselling, West says. Avoid statements that might be considered promises about job security, the stability of the company, careers, or compensation like these:
- “You’ll have a permanent job.”
- “You’ll make a bundle on our stock option plan.”
- “Everyone gets promoted in their first year with us.”
- “I guarantee the following personal development actions.”
- "We have the most competitive salaries.”
Legal, Effective Hiring in California
Anyone who has ever hired a new employee knows the feelings of uncertainty and risk that accompany the process. Is the applicant a good match, or could you be making an expensive mistake? The more skillfully you can assess the person now, the less likely you’ll regret your hiring decision later. But this is not a simple process.
Do you know which questions you can legally ask a job applicant, and which ones can trigger a discrimination lawsuit? Do you have up-to-the-minute information about the legal restrictions on credit and background checks, physical examinations, and drug tests? Traps for the unwary abound, thanks to the tangle of California and federal laws related to hiring.
Our newly updated California-specific desk reference Hire Without Fear is designed to cover every stage of the hiring process, from advertising the position to inking the job offer or employment contract.
While you can’t entirely eliminate hiring risks, you can reduce them to a manageable level so you can hire without fear or regret. At each step along the way, you get sound, practical advice and checklists, expert legal guidelines, and the insights you need to make smart decisions.
You’ll find many unique and helpful features inside Hire Without Fear:
- A library of more than 200 ready-to-use interview questions designed to help you assess an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, abilities and motivation, interpersonal skills and character.
- Key do’s and don’ts for conducting lawful interviews, along with a comprehensive list of what you can and can’t ask applicants.
- Clear guidelines on when you can require applicants to undergo employment testing, including medical exams and drug tests.
- Step-by-step guidance on how to conduct legal background checks.
- Critical questions to ask former employers to help elicit information you need to know about an applicant.
- Samples of the documentation you’ll need throughout the interviewing and hiring process—plus handy forms that you can tailor to your needs—including:
- An employment application;
- Authorization forms for medical exams;
- Drug testing and background checks;
- A job offer letter;
- A mutual arbitration agreement; and
- A confidentiality agreement.
- A comprehensive New Hire Compliance Checklist you can use to make sure your paperwork is in order for every new hire.
Plus much more!
We know you’ll find Hire Without Fear to be a valuable resource. Order now, risk-free! Your satisfaction is 100 percent guaranteed.
Download your copy of How To Survive an Employee Lawsuit: 10 Tips for Success today!
1 thought on “Tips for Avoiding Hiring-Related Lawsuits”
What constitutes a “material fact” for purposes of fraud? Or does it depend on the facts and circumstances?