Employees can be your biggest asset, if you hire the right
people. This can often be one of the biggest decisions that you
make as a business owner or employer. The "right"
employee will be key to the success of your business and the
"wrong" employee will bring cost and difficulty to you
workplace. That is why it is important to keep the following points
in mind when hiring, and firing, employees:
Know your candidate.
Always interviews your employee personally. Ensure that proper and
thorough reference checks and any other checks necessary for the
position (e.g. criminal background check) are completed. Know what
background checks you can request, limitations on questions you can
ask and what social media searches you can perform.
relationship. Both employer and employee should be clear
about the structure of the employment relationship. Is your
employee full-time, part-time or a term employee? Will the employee
work in a specific department? Who will the employee report to? How
will the employee be paid? Will there be a probationary
Have a contract in
writing. An employment contract can be as simple as a
letter of offer so long as it sets out the obligations of both the
employer and the employee. Key clauses will include termination and
notice provisions and any restrictive covenants or other limitation
clauses that are required. Proper drafting prior to hire will
ensure enforceability if the clause must later be tested.
Communicate your workplace
policies. Policies will only protect you if your employees
are aware of the policies. For this reason it is essential that new
employees sign a copy of each policy or a policy handbook provided
Keep your employees
safe. Provide training and instruction on workplace
requirements (attire, procedure, etc.), especially those designed
to ensure employee safety and be sure to highlight any potential
hazards specific to your workplace.
Use restrictive covenants
when appropriate. If your new employee will have
high-level access to your clients or classified information about
your business, consider including a non-solicitation or
non-competition clause in your employment agreement. Proper
drafting of such clauses will be key to ensuring that you may rely
upon them if necessary in future.
Know when it is time to
terminate. Employees can be terminated for just cause or
can be terminated without cause if reasonable notice is provided.
Do not let floundering employees linger. Make tough decisions in a
Know your Human Rights
responsibilities. Employers are required to accommodate
individuals with illnesses, disabilities or other characteristics
protected by statute. Termination may not be appropriate until
multiple forms of accommodation have been attempted or until it is
clear the employment contract has been frustrated.
Know how much notice is
required. Employees terminated without cause are generally
entitled to common law notice, unless the contract of employment
has limited the liability in this regard to the statutory, or a
higher, minimum. Common law notice is based on a number of factors
including age, length of service, position, other available jobs,
etc. A properly drafted clause in your employment contract can help
you to limit the amount that must be paid at the end of the
Document. Documents relating reason for the termination
and the employer's decision to terminate should be kept,
including original notes from interviews with employees.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Labour and employment law had some interesting developments in 2016. What follows are a few highlights from the last year and an introduction to an issue that may attract significant attention in 2017.
Businesses and employers face exposure to a variety of claims for mismanagement or misuse of personal information by employees. Damages may depend on how sensitive the information is and how it is misused.
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