Small Business Employment Issues - Free Enterprise

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Time and time again, hiring managers and HR professionals cite "culture fit" as the single most important determining factor when making a new hire. It makes sense -- we like to work with people like us. But, as Forbes points out, making hiring decisions based on comfort can be bad for the bottom line. And it can also be illegal.

And if you're using "culture" to mask hiring decisions based on race, gender, or national origin, your small business could be in serious trouble.

Most of us are entrepreneurs so we can be our own boss. But if you're successful enough, your company may have hit the stage where you need some help. Now that it's time to bring someone else aboard, do you know the legal ins and outs of onboarding employees?

Here are a few things to think about before hiring your first employee:

As a small business owner, you should already be aware that you have a responsibility to protect your customers and employees from harassment in the workplace. But that's a pretty broad obligation. What, specifically, do you need to do to prevent harassment? What are your legal responsibilities when responding to complaints of harassment? And do they vary depending on the type of harassment?

Here are the most common workplace harassment questions small business owners face, and where to look for answers:

You placed all the ads, reviewed all the resumes, interviewed all the candidates, and hired the perfect staff for your small business. Now that you've got the best and brightest employees in the office, how do you keep them there?

As CNBC reports, one of the biggest factors to employee retention is whether your employees see an internal career path that allows for opportunities to advance within the company. And those businesses that lack internal mobility programs are more likely to see their best employees searching for those opportunities at other firms.

Depending on the type of business you run, hiring freelancers or independent contractors may be necessary from time to time, or maybe even regularly. An all too often overlooked aspect of hiring freelancers or independent contractors is the written hiring contract itself.

A small business owner should, like larger businesses, take control of their contracts whenever possible. This means that contracts should be drafted by the business and not the freelancers or contractors. Doing so enables the business to adequately protect its legal interests, of which there could be many.

Below, you'll find several common terms that should be considered for your freelancer or contractor agreements.

While not all employers will be impacted by the incoming president's plans to reform immigration, any employer that hires non-permanent resident immigrants may have to change the way they do business. A principal concern for employers that hire immigrant workers is whether and how the process will change, particularly for H-1B visas.

Unless you've been intentionally avoiding the news, you've likely heard about plans to "reform" business immigration, punish sanctuary cities, and deport undocumented immigrants. While many political analysts speculated that Trump's campaign promises were empty threats, businesses might be well advised to have a contingency plan in place and to get ready for change. Speculators believe that Trump may push for the imposition of stricter requirements for showing the need for H-1B workers.

Individuals with disabilities are able to perform the same jobs as most other workers. However, due to stigma and ignorance, disabled individuals generally do not get the same career opportunities as non-disabled individuals. Despite the existence of strong anti-discrimination laws, in 2015, the Department of Labor explained that only 17.5 percent of persons with a disability were employed.

New programs at large employers like EY and Microsoft, target specific candidates with disabilities that the employers believe may benefit them. For instance, what employer wouldn't jump at the chance of employing an autistic individual like Raymond Babbitt (the Rain Man) in a number crunching position?

For employers that are hiring, it is important to know how to interview disabled individuals, and how to avoid discrimination.

Despite Silicon Valley's reputation for bringing together angels and unicorns, pitfalls and problems are sometimes unavoidable. This past year has been filled with ups and downs, as well as jaw-dropping scandals that shock even the most jaded of internet news readers.

Below you'll find the top 5 Silicon Valley scandals of this past year.

Depending on where your business is located, minimum wage laws can be governed by federal law, state law, or even local law. In the absence of local laws, state law will control. If there is no state law, then federal law controls. If there is a difference between the local, state, and federal requirements, the highest wage requirement controls.

Notably, there are only 5 states that do not have their own minimum wage laws, and therefore rely on the federal mandate. Those states are Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Additionally, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, and Wyoming's state minimum wages are below the federal mandated rate, which means that federal law controls in those states.

A wrongful termination lawsuit by an ex-employee of Uber exposed some intimate details of Uber's customer tracking capabilities. In the declaration, filed in October, the former employee explains that Uber employees were able to track politicians, celebrities, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses, and anyone else using the app. The declaration also alleges Uber committed many other privacy and labor violations, and may have just flat out violated other laws regarding the preservation of evidence.

The lawsuit alleges that the employee was terminated after objecting to many different privacy concerns, including those that dealt with monitoring users, as well as complying with authorities requesting information and data preservation. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the plaintiff was discriminated against based on his age.