Hiring Practices

A thorough and consistent hiring process helps create safe workplaces. Safe workplaces are conducive to efficiency, are a key ingredient in success and are a benefit to employees as well as employers. Your employees deal with customers, handle financial operations and create a lasting image in your customers’ minds. That’s why it’s a good idea to exercise as much care in hiring the right people as in training them once they’re hired.

Regardless of the tools you use, FHM recommends the following 5 steps to strengthen your hiring process:

  1. Whenever possible, hire by word of mouth and referrals.
  2. Have written job descriptions for applicants to read and sign that include a section on criminal history. Ensure there is a statement notifying applicants a criminal history background check will be performed and any false statements are grounds for termination.
  3. Conduct reference checks and a criminal history check. Include the sexual predator check when appropriate.
  4. If you are a Drug Free Workplace, require a pre-employment drug test.
  5. Once a job offer is made, have the employee complete a post-offer medical questionnaire that includes a question about previous workers’ compensation claims. Ensure there is a statement advising employees any false statements are grounds for termination. When the questionnaire is complete, perform a workers’ compensation background check.

Screening

A thorough screening procedure allows you to make objective hiring decisions based on the facts about an applicant’s background. Before you make a hiring decision, there are several free or reasonably priced tools you can use to learn more about applicants and minimize your future liability. For example:

  • Use http://www.nsopr.gov to access the US National Registry of sex offenders, which has information provided by all fifty states.
  • For a small fee, use http://www.backgroundchecks.com, to do background checks in most states. Or consider using http://www.searchsystems.net that has links to all free public records in the U.S. and other countries.

Employee Hiring and ADA Guidelines

Employers should have an established personnel system that will ensure a prospective employee’s abilities and/or limitations are known before beginning work. By taking the necessary time and effort to match prospective employees to the available job, the potential of new employee injuries can be significantly reduced.

To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all employee hiring must be completed in three (3) stages … Pre-job offer; conditional job offer (post-job offer); and employment. 

Pre-Job Offer (Stage 1)

In the pre-job offer stage, the following minimum elements should be completed:

  1. Job applicant should fully complete an Employment Application.
  2. The employer should prepare a written job description, which at a minimum identifies the essential and marginal job functions. The applicant should sign indicating his/her ability to perform essential job functions (with or without reasonable accommodations). You can deny employment to applicants who cannot perform essential job functions. However, you cannot refuse to hire a disabled individual who is otherwise qualified because the applicant’s disability prevents him/her from performing marginal functions. More information on job descriptions and reasonable accommodation can be found on the Internet through the Google Search Engine at: O*NET Online.
  3. The employer representative should check all previous work references identified on the job applicant’s employment application.
  4. For job applicants who will be operating vehicles on company time, a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) check of the applicant’s previous driving record should be completed. This review is normally available for a nominal fee from the State Driving License Division. If the operation of a company vehicle is a job requirement, then successful completion of a check ride/test should be part of the pre-job offer stage.
  5. A designated employer representative should always conduct a personal interview with job applicants. During the interview, the employer representative should discuss with the job applicant the following:
    a. The job applicant’s ability to perform the specific job functions, tasks or duties as long as the questions are not phrased in terms of a disability.
    b. You may ask a person with a known or obvious disability to demonstrate his/her ability to perform a job function with or without reasonable accommodations.
    c. The company’s probationary period (i.e., 90 days) for all new employees.
    d. Job applicants who successfully complete all of the pre-job offer screening requirements should be given a conditional job offer based upon successful completion of the post-job offer stage (the time between conditional job offer, but before actual date of employment).
    Click here for Post-Offer Medical Questionnaire
  6. The job applicant’s ability to perform the specific job functions, tasks or duties as long as the questions are not phrased in terms of a disability.
  7. You may ask a person with a known or obvious disability to demonstrate his/her ability to perform a job function with or without reasonable accommodations.
  8. The company’s probationary period (i.e., 90 days) for all new employees.
  9. Job applicants who successfully complete all of the pre-job offer screening requirements should be given a conditional job offer based upon successful completion of the post-job offer stage (the time between conditional job offer, but before actual date of employment).

 Conditional Job Offer (Stage 2)

After a conditional job offer is given to the job applicant and before any work begins, the employer should have the new employee complete the following:

  1. A Flexibility-Dexterity Test. Employees who are observed having difficulty completing the Flexibility-Dexterity Test should be referred to the employer’s company doctor for a physical to determine if the new employee can complete the essential job functions of the position.
  2. A drug test if employer is a Certified Drug-Free Workplace.

*NOTE: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was effective July 26, 1994 for employers with over 15 employees. The above two-stage procedure allows a “conditional” job offer to be withdrawn if the new employee is unable to complete essential job functions.

Employment (Stage 3)

  1. Employer is permitted to make medical inquiries of employees to determine whether employees are still able to perform the essential functions of their jobs. The purpose of this provision is to prevent medical tests and inquiries that do not serve a legitimate business purpose.
  2. Periodic physical examinations can be required to determine fitness for duty, if such physicals are necessitated by medical standards or Federal, State or local laws that are not inconsistent with the ADA.
  3. The ADA allows other exceptions to asking disability-related questions. However, excessive questioning may constitute disability-based harassment, which is prohibited by the ADA.

For additional information on the ADA, contact your attorney or the E.E.O.C. at 1-800-669-EEOC or www.eeoc.gov.

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