Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about an employer’s obligations when hiring new employees or after employees depart.
Does the law require employers to provide reasons for not hiring candidates for employment?
In most cases, an employer does not have to give reasons for not hiring an individual. It is, however, a wise business practice to keep a record of all interviewed candidates and your reasons for not hiring them. If in the future you are accused of illegal discrimination in hiring, you can use these records to recall the reasons and defend your company against the claim.
Can employers administer drug and alcohol tests to their employees?
Each state has laws which vary drastically concerning alcohol and drug testing in the workplace. Depending on the occupation in question, including some transportation jobs, federal law may also play a role in whether and how often employees should be tested. If you are considering drug or alcohol testing for your employees, it is crucial that you consult an experience employment lawyer who can explore your options with you, reviewing state and federal regulations.
As an owner of a small business, do I have to verify the citizenship of all of my employees?
Yes, the Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that all U.S. employers verify the identity and eligibility of all workers, whether they are American citizens or not, by completing the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. In order to complete the I-9 form, the employer must review particular documents for proof of legal work eligibility. An employer must retain these forms for all employees either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later.
After firing an employee, what may an employer tell other potential employers concerning the reasons for termination and employees character?
In most cases, the employer may tell potential employers the real reasons for the termination. As long as the information provided by the employer is true and based on a thorough investigation, they are generally protected by qualified privilege. If untruthful statements are made concerning the employee and the employer has no credible grounds for these accusations, they may be sued for defamation. To avoid suits, many employers refuse to release any information concerning past or present employees. Others require that all individuals seeking a reference sign a release giving the employer the right to discuss any good or bad feedback; these releases protect the employer from any claim which may arise from the dissemination of this information.