I grew up celebrating Easter, but when I was young, I never cared much for the goodies I discovered in my Sunday morning Easter basket.  My brother, on the other hand, always did. He was more than happy to eat his hollow chocolate bunny, dozens of Marshmallow Peeps (both his and mine), and all the jelly beans that slipped through the “grass” to the bottom of his basket.  Eventually, I convinced my mom the traditional items were not my favorites, but I liked plenty of other treats.  From that year forward, my basket was improved.

In life, some of us are lucky enough to like what we find in our baskets, Easter or otherwise, while others must initiate change to find similar levels of satisfaction.  On this Good Friday, I offer the following five new hire suggestions, to better ensure you like what you find in your HR basket:

  1. Review your interview process and questions. The process must not disparately impact protected classes, and the interview questions must be equally lawful and appropriate.  Doing so can mitigate the risk of discrimination suits.
  2. Conduct a carefully defined background check, assuming the potential new hire passes the interview.  Doing so can mitigate the risk of negligent hiring suits and potential vicarious liability from improper actions of unscreened employees.
  3. Review the job description and classification of the potential new hire (exempt or non-exempt).  If exempt, document why; and, if non-exempt, reaffirm the method of capturing time worked and properly calculating overtime.  Doing so can mitigate the risk of FLSA wage and hour claims.
  4. Provide the new employee with an up-to-date employee handbook and, equally important, provide the new employee adequate time to read it that day, ask questions, and sign an acknowledgement of understanding and agreement to comply.  Doing so can mitigate the risk of all kinds of employment-related suits, assuming the employer also knows and adheres to the protocols set forth in the handbook.
  5. Conduct sexual harassment and discrimination training.  Ensure the new employee, as well as supervisors, are properly trained and sign acknowledgements of understanding and agreement to comply with the company’s harassment and discrimination policies.  Doing so can mitigate the risk of sexual harassment and discrimination charges and/or lawsuits.

If this is already how your basket looks, continue enjoying Marshmallow Peeps like my brother always did. If not, let this message be the impetus for your change; and, hopefully next year you will find an improved HR basket, having done what you can to mitigate the front-end risks associated with hiring a new employee.