Legal Checklist for Hiring New Employees

When hiring a new employee, it is important to understand the legal requirements associated with this relationship. There are several legal requirements that employers must be aware of in order to ensure that they comply with all relevant laws.

Application and Recruiting Policies

Employers must take care to ensure that they are compliant with anti-discrimination laws pertaining to applicants. There are certain phrases that they should avoid using. Additionally, they must ensure that they are compliant with the ADA in their application policies to avoid discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Interview questions should also be compliant with these rules and should be focused on whether the applicant will be able to perform the duties of the job.

Background Checks

If the employer is plans to run a background check on applicants, he or she should ensure that all relevant laws are followed. He or she should not use arrest records against a person as they are not proof of guilt. Additionally, he or she should be aware of the potential disparate impact that having a no-felonies or no-conviction policy can have on certain minority groups. Additionally, employers must be sure to follow all requirements established under the Fair Credit reporting act when completing a background check. Applicants should sign a written approval prior to running a background check.

Employment Taxes

New employers must ensure that they are equipped to collect and pay taxes for employees. This process is commenced by applying for an employer identification number. This is completed by filing IRS Form SS-4. Additionally, the employer must register with the state tax and labor department in order to pay state income taxes collected from employee wages and state unemployment compensation taxes. Additionally, the employer should set up a payroll system so that the proper amount of taxes are withheld. Employers should also have each employee complete an IRS Form W-4.

Immigration Requirements

Employers must also ensure that immigration requirements are followed by ensuring that they check identification and other documents to ensure that they only hire individuals who are legally able to work in the country. Employers are required to complete Form I-9 for each employee to verify the legal eligibility to work. Employers are also required to maintain this form for three years and make it available to immigration officials upon request. These forms must be completed within three days of the applicant accepting the job.

Report Employees to New Hire Reporting Agency

The new hire reporting agency requirements employers to report the name and basic information related to new employees so that parents who are required to pay child support can be located more easily.

Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Most states require employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. Some states require all employers regardless of how many employees they have to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Others have a minimum number of employees that must be hired before they require the employer to have this insurance in place.

Review Employee Handbook

The employee handbook should discuss other policies that are important to the company, such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy. They may also set out attendance requirements and what types of progressive discipline may be imposed for attendance or other issues. Additionally the employee handbook may state clearly that the employment is at will unless there is a written employment contract.

Establish Personnel Files

At the very beginning of the employment relationship, personnel files should be kept up. This file may keep certain documents in one location, such as a written offer, job application, resume, federal forms, tax forms, evaluations and other forms. Medical forms must usually be kept separate and maintained in a locked area with limited access.

Workplace Safety

New employees should also receive training on workplace safety. Employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act and ensure that the workplace is free of hazards. They are also required to provide training to employees so that they know how to do their jobs in a safe manner. Additionally, they must report serious workplace accidents and fatalities. Employers must also be prepared to maintain safety records that contain as much detail as possible. They must also post certain notices so that employees know how to report injuries.

Legal Assistance

Employers who would like to avoid potential civil liability may decide to contact an employment law lawyer who can explain their legal requirements and obligations. They may also be able to update policies to ensure that the employer is compliant with all local, state and federal laws.

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case.

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