In today’s litigious environment, it is more important than ever for businesses to take steps to protect themselves. Among other things, you should pay careful attention to your policies regarding what paperwork new employees are asked to sign.
Depending on the forms that you ask employees to sign as standard procedure, you may be able to protect yourself in the event that a lawsuit is filed against you down the line.
Employment Terms and Training
Next time you hire an employee, consider asking them to sign a document agreeing to a number of statements regarding what the employee was promised with respect to their employment and what training or information the employee was given – it could help protect your business and minimize liability later.
Discrimination and Harassment Policies
Your new employee should sign a statement that they were made aware of your company’s discrimination and harassment policies after you have provided them with the corresponding orientation and training. This can be very important in case you are later sued due to the harassing behavior of the new employee or because the employee themself was harassed. In such a situation, it may be important for you to establish that you made the employee aware of your business’s discrimination and harassment policy.
However, it is rarely enough to merely state that this was done. You will need to prove that the employee knew of your business’s harassment and discrimination policies. A document signed by your employee stating that he received training and was made aware of the policies is strong proof. Without this, it is just your word against the employee’s.
At Will Employment
New employees should also sign a statement that that they understand that their employment is at-will. Most employees these days are at-will employees. At-will employment has no set end date and continues indefinitely as long as neither the employee nor the employer take any steps to terminate it.
The Right To End An Employment Agreement
However, both the employer and the employee have the right to end the employment agreement at any time and for any reason. A new employee should sign a document stating that he understands this fact. This document should explicitly state that the employment relationship can be ended at any time, and that the employee relationship may be ended for cause or without any cause. This can help later on if the employee files a wrongful termination lawsuit after being fired.
Remember, if you are not sure whether the documents you want your employees to sign are properly drafted or appropriate, you can always consult an attorney. Your attorney can either look your documents over to make sure they are in compliance with all applicable laws or draft documents for you to use himself.