Do I Conduct Background Checks on New Hires?

December 13th, 2006 | By Jules Halpern Associates | Background Checks, Hiring, Human Resources

Bad hiring decisions cost businesses money. Likewise, the growing issues surrounding the proper verification of an applicant’s record, and the need for qualified, honest employees reflects the increasing popularity of employment background checks. These investigations can include the acquisition of information concerning a potential employee’s past employment and a possible criminal record. The practice of conducting background investigations also helps businesses maintain a safe work environment and avoid lawsuits for negligent hiring. There are several excellent vendors who perform this service. Our firm can also advise on how to handle both the consent process and the procedural requirements for background investigations set forth in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Do I Properly Check Employee References?

The use of employee references involves a unique double standard. The information obtained through the reference process can provide you as an employer with a treasure trove of information. Applicants should be advised that you plan on checking their references. You should also try and check more than one reference, and always ask specific questions about an applicant’s job responsibilities and performance record. Giving employee references, however, can be a very tricky area, and employers should proceed with caution. While some employees may request a letter of recommendation, we typically advise against this practice, since it could present liability issues with an employee whose performance was marginal.

In addition, due to libel and slander laws, references should be restricted to dates of employment and the position(s) held by the employee. It is best to refer all reference inquiries to human resources so that managers are not put on the spot when fielding these calls.

Do My Employees Receive Effective Anti-harassment Training?

It is essential that employees know both what conduct constitutes harassment and whom to contact in the event they feel they have been harassed. Managers should know that retaliation against an employee who has reported harassment will not be tolerated. Likewise, once a member of management is on notice of a harassment issue, you as an employer are deemed to be on notice and can be held legally liable. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that having a system in place for reporting harassment, and presenting employees with anti-harassment training can provide employers with a legal defense in certain cases. Making sure your workplace is free from harassment is a huge step toward shielding your business from legal liability.

Important Minimum Wage Note For NY Employers…

Please note that effective January 1, 2007, the New York State minimum wage will increase to $7.15 per hour.

Jules Halpern Associates LLC

Workplace and Education Law Advisors

Jules Halpern Associates LLC
JULES HALPERN ASSOCIATES LLC is a boutique law firm committed to serving our clients in all facets of their workplace issues. We provide personalized, practical advice that resonates with our clients’ business objectives.
1225 Franklin Ave, Suite 200 Garden City NY 11530 516-466-3200
45 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 2000 New York NY 10111 212-786-7380
Jules Z. Halpern


Long Island Office
1225 Franklin Ave | Suite 325
Garden City, New York 11530
tel: 516.466.3200 | fax: 212.658.9313

New York City Office
45 Rockefeller Plaza | Suite 2000
New York, New York 10111
tel: 212.786.7380 | fax: 212.658.9313

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