Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is an Employer to do….?

imageThis article was written by Robin Noah, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

More and more employers are burdened with rules and regulations regarding employee issues. Many employers turn to background checks to ensure, to the best of their ability, that the persons they hire will not become challenges in their workplace.

At a recent Society for Human Resources Management conference in Washington, DC one of the topics discussed was the act of background checks. It was mentioned that because bias complaints from rejected job applicants are on the rise the EEOC is cracking down on discrimination in employers’ hiring practices.

A case in point is a comment from INC magazine (Dec 2010) that the U S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw a record 99,922 discrimination claims filed in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.  It was the highest number of cases brought in the agency’s 45-year history.

So what is an employer to do?

“Take a more proactive approach toward education and prevention.”

Employers need to 1) understand the rules for background checks and 2) review all of their company’s selection procedures, making sure they’re necessary and related to the positions they’re going to hire for. You can get more information at

A small business owner or nonprofit organization can take a proactive stance to protect themselves against employee workplace lawsuits primarily by hiring the right people. Additionally know what employees’ legal rights are, and be scrupulous in following the law,”

“Become knowledgeable of labor practices.”

A review of current procedures, handbooks, training or educational tools in place should be done annually to ensure that current rules, regulations and laws are reflected. I also recommend that employers have Methods and Procedures guidelines to guard against future lawsuits of discrimination. Nonprofits frequently have a Managing Volunteers Guide.

“Protect the company against lawsuits”

A good business practice is to look into Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to develop protection against liability that may arise out of employment practices. Nonprofit organizations should also look into the impact of their volunteer staffs.