Much of workers compensation cost containment is related to good information, good systems, and proper planning. When it comes to hiring, it can be staggering to think about the amount of liability a company is taking on with each new employee. This person will be representing your company, your brand, and many times relationships with your paying consumer. These are the attributes that often get the most attention. However, when you bring on a new employee, you are also bringing on the liability that they can safely perform their job.
A Shiny Resume and a Nice Smile Doesn’t Always Mean the Applicant Should be Hired
We were all taught at an early age to not judge a book by its cover. During the interview your candidate answered all the questions, had a nice smile, and a nice resume. On the surface everything looked great and you were excited to get this person, let’s call him Tom, to work as the plant could use the help. So, you rush to get him hired and on the job. What you didn’t know was Tom had a history of workers compensation claims. In each of his last three positions he was “out on comp” for a couple of months. He’s now gotten to know the system and has you pegged for the big one, a nice settlement that can set him up for years to come. What was missing from your hiring equation is employee screening.
Every New Hire Should Go Through Screening
As any employment law attorney would tell you, it is not permissible to make hiring decisions based on an applicant’s disability, ethnic background, race, gender, age, or any other protected class. It is permissible, and highly recommended, to hire employees with the physical and mental capabilities to safely perform the job. A job analysis can establish the criteria of a job including physical requirements and job specifications. ADA-compliant job descriptions should list all essential functions of the job, so a hiring decision can be based on clear and objective criteria.
To further determine is an applicant is qualified for your position, employ these screening tools:
1) Medical testing. This will identify applicants who have existing medical limitations. All testing must be done after an offer of employment has been made.
2) Demonstration of job abilities. All new hires should be able to demonstrate they can safety perform the job.
3) Personality profiling. This provides insights into the values, ethics, and behavioral characteristics of the potential employee, including an entitlement mentality, theft, deception, cheating, drug use, dishonesty, hostility, and propensity to violence.
4) Background check. This to include hidden criminal records, drug arrest, prior employment history, prior academic achievements, prior names and addresses, prior workers compensation claims, and credit history.
Pre-Employment Screening & Testing Can Be Legally Challenged If Done Improperly
Any time you are implementing a new program, it is recommended to speak with an outside resource which complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and EEOC guidelines. In addition, when considering any factors found in the screening process, employers should consider the nature and gravity of the offense, as well as the length of time since the offense and the type of job responsibilities that are required in the current job. Prior arrests and/or convictions should not be used as a screening tool to remove applicants automatically.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Principal, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional