When you first start a business, you take imperfect action, and often you have no idea what you are doing. You have to move quickly and get your business idea up and running. But, as your business grows you quickly realize you cannot possibly do everything yourself. You must start building your team. But, if you don’t get the knowledge you need about business laws in your state, you could make some costly mistakes.
Over the last few years, our business has had some pretty massive growth. We’ve gone from a little hobby blog I wrote on the side of my day job to a company impacting millions of women each month. I started needing more help to reach my vision so I decided to start building a team. Going through the hiring process made me realize that there is so much I don’t know about hiring and recruiting. It was often easy for me to let my lack of knowledge hold me back, too.
As I started to scale and grow my business, here are some questions I faced:
- How will I find the right candidates?
- Should I get interns and what sort of tasks should I give them?
- Are the people that work for me, independent contractors or employees?
- My team is all virtual. Are there certain things I need to do to protect myself and our business when leading a virtual team?
- How do I create a job description and what do I include/not include?
- How do I conduct an interview and what questions should I ask/not ask?
It’s overwhelming right? Over the last year, I’ve really tried to expand my knowledge in the recruiting area because I know growing Team CCG is crucial to our long-term success. That’s why I was excited when CalChamber reached out with an opportunity to become a member of a href=”http://bit.ly/2qtje4Z”>HRCalifornia.com so I could dive in and learn everything I needed to know.
HRCalifornia.com is the most trusted California labor law compliance site. The site offers experienced HR advisers at the Labor Law Helpline to provide answers to your complicated questions and a large resource of checklists and forms that business owners can use to navigate every human resource question you may have. The site also has a Q&A section that provides answers to the most frequently asked questions. Try HRCalifornia for free, no obligation or credit card required.
You all know I love to learn right? The truth is that they asked me to write a sponsored post for them. Here it is! But, what happened instead is that I spent hours combing the site and soaking up everything I could about what to do and what not to do when hiring. I have never seen more HR information in easily understood language with case studies, examples and answers to frequently asked questions available. Many of the topics on the site were issues that I have been concerned about for a long time. As I read through the site everything finally started to make sense and I started to stress less about some of the decisions I needed to make internally./h5>
I hope you take this time to get educated. Running a business is not easy and it’s hard to make time to learn, especially when it comes to legal aspects because it can be scary, right? The truth is, it’s so important, and putting the time in NOW can really help you avoid costly mistakes in the future.
As I was researching and writing this post, I kept emailing my Chief Operating Officer and telling him all the things we needed to do and change for our internal HR processes. I can’t wait to make some of the changes happen internally on our team and I also am excited for you because you get to see what I am learning as well.
Today I’m excited to share with you the five hiring laws that are important for business owners. HRCalifornia.com has a ton of information that I could share with you but I picked these 5 topics because they are the ones that I have had to deal with as I’ve grown Classy Career Girl. These are also the five questions that I get asked most when it comes to building a team and the laws around it.
The 5 Hiring Laws You Need to Know to Run a Business
Note: The information below was all found on HRCalifornia.com. I am not a lawyer and this is an educational article, not legal advice.
1. The Legal Requirements For Hiring Interns
Don’t have money to pay for an employee and think you can get an intern to do free work for you instead? Wrong! When I first started hiring interns I had no idea of The Primary Beneficiary Test. There are a few simple questions that you ask yourself to determine if someone working for you can be an intern.You can take the test here.
I did a lot of internships in college and I have loved offering internships at Classy Career Girl in the past. I love giving back to students and training them in all the different areas of Classy Career Girl. But, it’s not easy to have interns. You have a responsibility to “provide training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment.”
I’m a former professor and what I love to do is teach! But, if you want to hand over a bunch of tasks you think you can get done for free by an intern, you are mistaken. It’s just not that simple. This is why it’s so important to know the laws and in this case, you’ll want to learn about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) before you hire your next intern.
2. The Difference Between an Independent Contractor and an Employee
California labor law defines an independent contractor as “any person who renders service for a specified recompense for a specified result, under the control of his principal as to the result of his work only and not as to the means by which such result is accomplished.”
You might think it’s easier to make hires as independent contractors because then you won’t have legal obligations like wage and hour requirements. But, an independent contractor is responsible for only his/her own work, his/her own schedule and must also be responsible for how work is completed.
Mislabeling a worker as an independent contractor creates potential liability for employment taxes and penalties, and liability for failure to fulfill the many legal obligations owed to an employee, such as wage and hour requirements. For your own protection, make sure that a person working as an independent contractor truly meets the numerous tests required by law. You can learn more about the differences between an independent contractor and employee in the State of California here.
3. Asking Candidates Appropriate Questions During Interviews
Back in my prior corporate consulting career, I often sat in during hiring interviews to make decisions on who would be the best fit for our team. I had no idea some of these laws existed years ago when I was hiring and each year more laws are added that make hiring decisions fairer to applicants. This means it’s a really important topic for business owners.
As I reviewed the HRCalifornia.com website, I realized that this topic could be an article in itself. I will just highlight some of the most important things I believe you need to know but please do your own research!! Take advantage of your own free trial to this educational site, and learn for yourself what you need to know about hiring.
Some important rules you need to know:
- Do not ask questions about marital status or children. For example, you cannot ask a candidate if she is pregnant, has children, or is planning to have children.
- Be careful when asking about hobbies or outside activities.
- Don’t ask about prior salary history, including compensation or benefits. California law prohibits employers from asking about salary history, and from relying on salary history to make hiring decisions or determine how much to pay an employee.
Did you know that there are even laws today that protect the social media accounts of job applicants? Don’t ever ask the candidate to access their personal media account in front of you during the job interview or ask them to divulge any personal social media to you.
4. Asking Appropriate Questions on Job Advertisements and Job Descriptions
Truth: I held off hiring for many months because I didn’t know how to create a job description. I discovered that it’s not that hard. Once you do your first job description, it gets so much easier after that because then you have a template to model.
Posting a job advertisement and creating a job description is often the first step to hiring and building your team so you aren’t doing everything yourself. It’s important you understand there are questions you cannot ask applicants to complete on the job advertisement.
Here are some questions you can never ask a job candidate:
- Are you a U.S. citizen?
- Is that a Jewish (or Chinese, Irish, French, etc.) name?
- In what country were you born?
- Do you have your own car?
- Do you have or plan to have children?
- What does your spouse do for a living?
- Are you married?
- When did you graduate from high school?
- What do you make where you work now (or what did you make at any prior job)?
I was also surprised to learn that I have been making a mistake. According to HRCalifornia.com, you may be tempted to write on the candidate’s application and/or resume or in a separate notebook as you talk to the candidate. Unless you take complete, legible notes that are not open to any misinterpretation and are in no way discriminatory, don’t do it. Upon close examination, notations taken during an interview can subject you to discrimination claims.
5. Creating Your Policy For Remote Workers/Telecommuters
Many business owners I work with have virtual teams so this is a really important topic to share. It’s so easy with technology today to have the flexibility to work remotely. There are things you need to do to ensure that the employment relationship runs smoothly and you avoid litigation.
A very important thing to have in your company is a telecommuting policy. Here are some things you’ll want to include in the policy:
- The criteria for assessing whether an employee can work remotely.
- The manner in which home office expenses and expenses for travel and parking at the company will be handled.
- The logistics for supporting telecommuters needs, such as support staff, office supplies, and equipment.
- Which meetings will require physical attendance by telecommuters and which can be managed by phone or over the Internet?
- How expenses for moving company equipment will be managed if the telecommuter moves.
- How the termination of telecommuters will be managed, especially the return of company equipment and payment of final wages.