The Employer/Employee Relationship Begins Before the Beginning

The employer/employee relationship clearly exists when an employer hires an individual to accomplish a task. All employers are aware of their responsibilities as related to employee safety, nondiscrimination, overtime pay and the like.

But an employer's responsibility to employees begins before the first employee is placed on the payroll. One pre-hire requirement placed on employers is the posting of certain posters in a conspicuous place where all employees can read them. Federal and state regulations identify these posters. The federal posters are outlined below, with the agency responsible for the regulation. The responsible agency is where an employer would go to obtain a copy of the appropriate poster.

These posters are as varied in their topics as the agencies that administer the requirements.

In addition to the posters, when an employer seeks to hire a new employee, each applicant should be required to complete an employment application, which serves multiple purposes: 1) it establishes a record of who has applied for what position; 2) it identifies sources for prospects for future hiring; and most importantly 3) it assists in determining qualified candidates.

An employment application can take many forms. One over another is not necessarily good or bad. The main point is to ensure that the application does not seek discriminatory information regarding health, age, race, sex, disability etc.; but does seek qualifications that will make potential employees successful in applied-for positions.

It is recommended that every applicant be required to complete and sign an employment application. Should the employer only receive a resume from a prospective applicant, the applicant should be required to sign and date the resume.

Generally, when someone signs information, they understand that accuracy of the information is important. In addition, any disciplinary action will be easier to defend, should it be discovered subsequent to hiring individuals, that they had been less than truthful on their resume or application.

An employer uses the application and an applicant interview to help reach a hiring decision. The employer will seek information that establishes the applicant's ability to perform the job, as identified in the position description, information that establishes the applicant's experience, education and skills. Information regarding age (other than if the applicant is over the age of 18), religion, national origin or other unlawful information must not be sought.

A position description is an effective way to bring consistency and objectivity to the process of placing the right person in the right position. A position description should establish the essential functions of the position, scope of responsibility, specific skills required, education and experience required, and the general working conditions, i.e. office, factory or other.

Also, the position description should state that the categories contained in the position description are not necessarily all-inclusive and that additional duties may be assigned and requirements may vary from time to time.

Anytime investigators come to an employer's premises, right away they ask to see where the posters are posted, how applications are maintained and compare the work done by employees to each position description. Getting off on the right foot with an investigator is a good thing. Having the appropriate poster posted, applications of each employee on file and positions descriptions on file will ease the investigation process.

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