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Your Duties as an Employer

biz_employerYour business is only as good as the people behind it. That's right, people drive your business! To that end, it is important to the success of your business that you attract and retain good employees. There are also certain laws within your state regarding hiring and firing, employee wages, and health and safety regulations. In order to be in compliance with state rules and regulations, it is important that you are aware of these laws, and follow them to the letter. Going by the book can help avoid employee problems later on!

Hiring Employees

Employees make or break your business. That's right. The right employees are a key ingredient to your business success.

However, there are many federal and state laws that govern how to find and hire employees. If you don't pay attention to the rules, and follow them, you may find yourself the defendant of a costly lawsuit. Or, equally as bad, you may end up getting stuck with employee who just isn't working out, but is difficult to fire.

Legally hiring a good employee begins right with the interview process. Did you know that some subjects are taboo? While you can ask just about any question relating to past and present jobs, skill set, and experience, you can't ask questions pertaining to age, disability, marital status, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or ethnic background. These questions violate laws requiring equal employment opportunity and prohibiting discrimination in employment such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, The Civil Rights Act of 1966, The Immigration Reform Act and Control Act of 1986, and the Americans with Disabilities Acts.

Wow! Those certainly are a lot of laws to familiarize yourself with. But don't worry. No need to read them from start to finish (unless, of course, you are in the business of employment law!). Just make sure to keep your interview questions based on experience, skills, and qualifications, and you should be fine.

If you choose to have potential employees fill out employment applications, make sure the questions on the application are legal as well. A good, legal application asks for information such as past and present work experience, educational background, special skills, and gives permission for the company to check references.

Once you've decided upon a candidate, employee agreements can diminish the possibility of a lawsuit later on. Agreements should spell out the job position, job responsibilities, wages and benefits, if the employee is an "employee at will," when the employee can be terminated for good cause, when the employee can be terminated without good cause and whether severance will be due, and where and how disputes will be handled.

Why It's Important to Have Written Policies

Making employees aware of the rules and policies you expect them to adhere to not only shows them respect, it cuts down on potential lawsuits. An employee handbook is a good place to put these policies in one place. A good employee handbook addresses:

- Hours and overtime pay.
- Vacation and sick days policy.
- Sexual harassment policy.
- Illegal drugs and alcohol policy.
- Disciplinary policy.
- Your At-Will Employment policy.
- Your non-discrimination policy.
- Your health and safety policy.

Firing Employees

Sometimes you've tried everything, and the best thing for all parties involved is to terminate the employee. In order to avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit, make sure you have everything in order. While an employee at will doctrine states that you can let an employee go for any reason, at any time, you should know the doctrine has exceptions. Before taking the final step of firing an employee, it's always best if you have a good reason and have given several documented warnings. It goes without saying that letting a employee go should never be construed as harassment or discrimination.


Your state has a minimum wage, as well as a overtime policy, that must be adhered to. Not only must you pay your employees according to state and federal laws, you must post those state and federal laws on current posters displayed in areas where employees have access to them. These posters tell employees what the minimum wage is, when they are entitled to overtime, and how they are paid for sick and vacation days. It is important that both employee and employer are up to date on the latest laws, as they change frequently.

Health and Safety

Each state also has health and safety regulations that must be followed by employers. Federal OSHA laws must be posted on compliance posters in all places of employment where employees can see them and refer to them. Other health and safety laws that must be posted vary by state. Depending upon the business, it is also smart to post relevant compliance posters that promote wellness and safety tips. For example, a construction company might display a poster on safe machinery practices in an area that employees often congregate. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Repair Site, part of Localwin Network.
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