Q&A From “Ask the Expert” Human Resources Webinar

Below are the questions that were asked after the “Ask the Expert” webinar on Human Resources that was held on Wednesday, November 10.

Q:  The presenter talked about a waiver for new hires to sign.  I believe that the intent of the waiver was to protect the [new] employer from any liability caused in the future when the [new] employer could be in the position of providing a reference for the new hire’s next job. Did I understand that correctly?  Are there sample waivers of this type on the SHRM website?

A: I apologize for not being clearer when I discussed this topic, the waiver, which is typically included in the employment application packet does two things. First, it grants your perspective employer the right to complete a search if they so choose. That search could include contacting: schools, companies, corporations, credit bureaus, courts and law enforcement agencies. Second, it  waives any recourse you may have based on what is uncovered in that search. So it protects not only your prospective employer but anyone that may contacted during this search against any lawsuits (i.e. defamation) that may stem from this investigation. Samples are pretty easy to find, I am sure that you would be able to find one on, just be sure to run it by a labor law attorney prior to implementing it into your procedures.

Q: What should be included a job description?

A: Job descriptions can vary greatly from employer to employer. However they should include the following information:

1.       Summary of Responsibilities
2.       Educational Requirements
3.       Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
4.       Unique Job Requirements and Characteristics
5.       A list of 4 or 5 Primary and Secondary job tasks
6.       Physical Requirements of the position in the event the employer may have to provide reasonable accommodation in accordance with the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1991.

Q: How long should you hold on to employee files after the employee leaves?

A: To my knowledge there are no laws that require employers to retain personnel files for a specific time frame after the employee moves on. However, you do want to retain this information in a secure location in the event you need to retrieve information.  Here’s my policy regarding personnel files.

All of the terminated employee files for a calendar year are kept together.
At the end of the year they boxed and stored in an area that is secure yet accessible if need be.
After 7 years the files are scanned and made into a virtual employment files where it will can easily be retrieved.  At that point the paper file is shredded.

Q:  Should you have 2 people present when you terminate an employee?  Or is it better to be one on one?

A: Two people would be the best option, one person to deliver the message the other person to act as a witness.

Q: What’s the HR professional’s website that you mentioned?