Employment concerns are a relatively constant aspect of managing a business. Making good decisions can mean the difference between a successful new year and one that involves headaches, lost productivity, and potential lawsuits. Failing to establish sound hiring protocols, or procedures for handling inappropriate workplace behavior, for example, can lead to a number of avoidable issues, including harassment and discrimination claims. 

Let us share three employment tips for Tallahassee employers to help start the new year on the right track.

  1. Know what you can and cannot ask in an employment interview. Hiring the right employee is critical to any business. Asking job candidates probing questions and using particular interview techniques may be necessary to identify the right fit. Be aware, though, there are certain things you cannot ask and, further, it may even be illegal to ask.

Generally, employers cannot solicit any information from a job applicant that could then be used to discriminate against them. For example, questions about race, ethnicity, and gender are prohibited. Similarly, employers cannot ask about a candidate’s national origin, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, disability, marital status and number of children.

  1. Show compassion without overstepping workplace boundaries. Expressing genuine interest in your employees’ well-being is the mark of quality management. It is how that compassion is expressed that can either create company-wide esteem, or put an employer at risk. It is important to set firm employer-employee boundaries and not get overly personal. Instead, offer professional development opportunities to support employees, and provide additional support for sensitive life events, such as time off or schedule flexibility for illnesses, a child’s graduation, weddings, and funerals.

Compassion and properly maintained boundaries can create a productive workplace, healthy social dynamics, high retention rates, and loyal employees, all of which may add to your bottom line. 

  1. Craft company policies to avoid potential lawsuits. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers are far more likely to be sued by their employees than their customers. In 2018, more than 93,000 employment charges were filed with the EEOC, a 400 percent increase from 20 years ago. The costs of these lawsuits can be devastating.

Basically, despite the serious nature of many cases, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that employers are being sued even when they are trying to follow harassment, discrimination, termination and disability laws. Crafting legally informed policies designed to achieve a safe and respectful work environment will be enormously important in the coming year.

We know this blog may raise more questions than it answers. As an employer, there is never a “wrong” time to jump in and create the policies you need to run your business. Do not wait to contact a member of our local, experienced legal team and schedule a free case evaluation today!