Most businesses believe they don’t need guidance when hiring new staff. It’s an exciting time for the organization as well as the new employee, and no one wants to think about what might happen if things don’t work out. Although this initial phase of the employment relationship is usually positive and optimistic, it’s important to start the relationship with clear understandings. As a small employer, in a perhaps competitive industry, you need to think about several things when you hire new staff:
- do you need an employment contract?
- are you mistakenly creating an employment contract, or a guarantee of employment, when you don’t mean to?
- should you consider having a non-competition agreement and, if so, what’s reasonable under the law?
- does the new employee have a non-competition agreement with another company that may impact what s/he can do for you?
- if your new employee is coming from the federal government, are they subject to any post-employment restrictions?
Many businesses also think they can fire an employee without legal advice. Firing an employee can unwittingly lead to core misunderstandings of why the employee is being fired which, in turn, can result in unnecessary lawsuits and place a huge burden on your small organization.
We give small and progressive employers guidance on how to ensure they engage in good employment practices, including following the rules on hiring and firing, and following “best practices” in dealing with all phases of the employment relationship. A few simple conversations with a knowledgeable employment attorney at the beginning of the employment relationship can avoid a host of problems that may arise later.