Day: March 22, 2021

Attorney Gene’s Top Tips for Hiring Employees

One of the hallmarks of a truly successful business is the need to hire additional employees. If your business is ready to hire employees, here’s how to go about it.

Tip #1. Use a modern, legally-compliant job application form.

Colorado has a new “ban the box” statute that prohibits use of job application forms asking whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony. “What???,” you say! True. And that is for some reasons the current political powers that be deem very worthwhile. For now, the Colorado law applies to private employers with 11 or more workers. But on September 1, 2021—which will be here before we know it—it will apply even if you have only one worker. So, start getting used to the term “justice involved person.” It is like calling someone a “firefighter” instead of a “fireman.” Someday, we’ll all be doing it second-nature.

Tip #2. Comply with the immigration laws.

When you hire a worker, you must comply with federal and Colorado immigration laws to ensure that the worker you hire is permitted to work in the U.S. Federal form I-9 requires specific, original forms of identification and, for some types of identification, more than one type of ID. Employers must certify that they have examined the original documents. For audit purposes, employers should permanently retain copies of the documents they examined. People have gone to jail for I-9 falsification, so give careful thought to how bad you really want to hire that worker with an obviously-fake ID. Just because your competitors are hiring illegal workers doesn’t mean you can get away with it too.

Tip #3. Report your new hires.

As mandated by federal law, in order to facilitate collection of court-ordered child support, Colorado employers must report new hires within 20 calendar days after the date of hire or by the first regularly scheduled payroll following the date of hire, if such payroll is after the expiration of the 20-day period. Good news! This law uses the same definition of “employee” as for federal income tax purposes, so you don’t have to learn yet another definition of “employee.”

Tip #4. Don’t illegally discriminate in hiring.

Today, if you can think of a class of disadvantaged persons, chances are pretty good they’re protected against discrimination in the hiring process. Accordingly, in Colorado do not discriminate in hiring based upon age (40 and above), ancestry, color, disability, gender identification, immigration status, marriage to a coworker, military service, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. By the way, non-discrimination in the hiring of disabled persons may include a host of reasonable accommodations, so don’t be too quick to tell someone they can’t apply if they can’t walk up the stairs of the building, or anything else medical/physical/mental that impacts their ability to fill out an application just like anyone else. Also, discrimination based upon race may be established by refusing to hire persons with “natural hair,” and discrimination based upon religion may be established by refusing to hire persons with beards. So, be careful when factoring in an applicant’s grooming.

Tip #5. Post required notices of employee rights. ‘Nuff said.

Tip #6. Use hiring letters.

When hiring, send your new hire a letter including most or all of the following: the job title, the exempt/nonexempt status for overtime purposes, your established “workweek” for wage/hour purposes, the initial work schedule, the pay (salary, hourly, commission, piece-rate, non-discretionary bonus), the pay dates, current benefits, vacation policy (cover earning paid leave if it is offered), sick leave, start date, probationary period, confidentiality or non-compete requirements, protection of trade secrets and customer information, and at-will status (assuming want at-will status, which you almost certainly do). Have them sign it and return it.

Tip #7. Complete federal tax form W-4. Of course.

Tip #8. Provide a decent onboarding.

New hire orientation can include providing: a written agenda for the first week, a written job description, a copy of your performance evaluation form, copies of policies/procedures/handbooks (get a receipt). Inform the employee of meal and rest periods (which are required by law). Show them your posters on employee statutory rights. Show them their workspace, and make sure it is clean, neat, and safe before they arrive. Introduce them to their co-workers, giving an organizational chart (preferably with photos). Communicate your mission and values using examples. Communicate how their job helps fulfill your mission. Cover the training they will get, addressing safety concerns in detail, and have them sign-off on safety training they have received. Assign them a mentor/buddy. Do a Q&A, and check back with them every few days. You’ll be amazed at how a proper onboarding can improve productivity and employee relations.

© Copyright 2019, Gene R. Thornton, Attorney-At-Law, all rights reserved.

Matthew Schniper

Matthew Schniper, an award-winning long-form features writer and food critic, has 16 years of multimedia storytelling experience as a journalist, photographer and editor. His work has appeared in numerous Alt Weekly newspapers around the country, as well as in national publications like The Atlantic and Food Network Magazine. After serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Colorado Springs Independent for several years, Matthew is now the Food and Drink Editor, allowing him more time to run his own Airbnb business and focus on freelance storytelling projects. He is the co-founder and moderator of Culinary Distancing COS, a Facebook group supporting food and drink businesses in the Pikes Peak Region during the Covid pandemic. Matthew is also working on a true crime book and podcast series exploring the intersection of autism, animal welfare, domestic violence and criminal justice. He holds a creative writing and film degree from Colorado College. Prior to working in journalism, he spent 10 years in the restaurant industry — cooking, serving and managing. Visit patreon.com/inSENSEd to follow his true crime project, and connect with Matthew at muckrack.com/matthewschniper and linkedin.com/in/matthew-schniper.

 

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