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Labor Law

From “Hire” to “Fire” and all Points Between

Joe Shelton delivered a compelling presentation warning members on the pitfalls of hiring without properly vetting

In Charleston, my presentation focused on how you can improve the 90-10 rule whereby you spend 90% of your time dealing with issues surrounding 10% of your employees. In other words, the unfortunate reality is that most employers spend an inordinate amount of their time dealing with problems flowing from a small percentage of their workforce.
My goal was to provide you with guidance in three “how to” areas:

  • Avoid hiring the “problem” employees in the first place,
  • Properly performance manage your low performing employees, and
  • Comply with the various employment-related laws.

Smart hiring is not a passive endeavor. It takes intentionality and diligence. We talked about the following key areas for a successful hiring process (which means you hopefully screen out and do not hire what I called the “walking lawsuit”): mining for applicants in the right places, proactively interviewing, providing a meaningful orientation/training, and being aggressive with your introductory period.

Performance management takes effort as well. Gone are the days where you can fire someone “just because.” While you likely are operating in an at-will state, juries and judges increasingly expect (some might argue require) to see an element of due process in the performance management and termination processes. This means that performance deficiencies must be documented and that employees must be given time and guidance before pulling the termination trigger.

Finally, we did a quick around-the-world of many of the employment laws, discussing the areas where your business could have exposure (either from an employee pursuing a lawsuit or a governmental agency knocking on your door). Based on my conversations with conference attendees, the two areas which generated the most concerns and questions were:

  • Wage hour uncertainties, and
  • Potential independent contractor misclassification.

You are part of a wonderful group and I appreciate the opportunity to spend time with you. If you have any labor/employment needs, I hope to hear from you.

Joe Shelton, Fisher & Phillips, (404) 240-4259, jshelton(at)laborlawyers.com

Photo: copyright MCG Photography

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