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How HR Can Ensure Compliance After Making a Job Offer

How HR Can Ensure Compliance After Making a Job Offer

When looking to bring on a new employee, you will need to take into account all aspects of the hiring process. You will likely have many candidates but only few will receive that formal offer of employment. Once you get to this stage in the game there are a few important requirements that may need to be met, such as medical exams, drug tests, and background checks. Read on to learn how you can ensure compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws while onboarding.


Medical Examinations

According to the ADA, employers can only require medical testing after an offer of employment has already been made. Beyond this the exams must also be somehow related to the job. So a fitness exam for a job that requires strenuous physical activity is reasonable, but a fitness exam for someone who will primarily be working at a desk is not. 

Once an employee has received an exam, be sure their results are stored away safely and securely. The location in which they are stored should be monitored and limited to only those who would require access to such documentation such as an HRIS. 

Drug Testing

Some organizations may require drug testing as a prerequisite to the hiring process. For these organizations it is important to maintain adequate timing to achieve the best results. In other words, try not to wait until after the hiring process to schedule drug screenings. Unlike medical exams, a successful drug test may be required before extending a formal employment offer. 

Maintaining a proper drug screening procedure can help to protect you and your employees. Should you bring on an employee who is struggling with issues of substance abuse and is in need of professional help, then it is crucial you are made aware of this as soon as possible. Should you still wish to hire them, then you will be able to ensure they receive the best help for their needs. This also helps in preventing any issues regarding employees being under the influence while at work, and especially if such behavior may put other employees at risk or negatively impact workplace productivity and safety.  

As with all other physical or medical tests, be sure that all drug test results are safely and securely stored. This should be in a location where access is restricted to only those who need to handle such data and information. You may also utilize an HRIS system to help maintain such documentation. 

Background Checks

Many employers will conduct background checks on prospective employees. This is to ensure that the employee is suited to the role, and is cleared of any concern over past work history, or any potentially inaccurate information that may have been given during the hiring process. 

One thing to be mindful of as you conduct background checks is that while you are able to conduct such a check prior to hiring an employee, there are certain questions that you cannot ask. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you cannot ask medical questions until after an employee is hired on. Employers are also not allowed to ask questions specifically directed at an employee's race or ethnicity. They may only ask the same questions they would ask any other employees. They are also prohibited from asking specific questions in regards to family medical history or genetic history except in specific situations.

Employers must always ask permission before conducting any sort of background check. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that while it is perfectly legal to conduct background checks, any decisions made following the results must align with the EEOC guidelines protecting future employees. 

Be sure that potential employees are made aware that information found in the background check may be used in the hiring process. The information utilized in this decision however, must not go against any regulations protecting the employee. 


Reference Checks

Most employers will ask for references at some point in the hiring process. This is likely to occur before any formal job offer has been made. This is a great opportunity for employers to get a sense of an applicant as both an employee and a person. You will want to know what other people feel about their performance and whether or not they are a good fit for your organization. 

There are actually many different types of references employers may benefit from:

  • Employment references

  • Educational references

  • Financial references

  • Personal references

  • Certification/Accreditation references

These all represent different aspects of an applicant and each offers insight into a specific area which can help employers to better understand what sort of candidate they are working with. 

It is always a good idea to obtain written authorization before conducting a reference check. There are some states that require this, however it is generally considered best practice to follow this rule. 

If you have decided to conduct a reference check then you will need to ask the proper questions to correctly gauge the employee at hand within a limited amount of time. A few helpful questions are:

  • “In what context have you worked with {the Candidate} and for how long?’

  • “Can you describe the candidate’s general responsibilities?”

  • “What were the standards of successful performance in the Candidate’s role? How did she/he measure against the standards?”

  • “In what roles / functions do you think she would be particularly successful / find herself struggling”?

  • “Would you work with the candidate again?”

  • Depending on the Candidate’s former role, “How would peers / customers / reports / superiors describe the candidate?”

Reference checks can be hugely helpful when deciding between multiple candidates. You can gain a true sense of who that employee is and how those they have worked with in the past, speak about them now after they have moved on. Be sure to remain concise yet clear and to the point. You can sense a great deal simply by the manner in which a reference speaks regarding said candidate. Are they vague and offer few concrete examples? Do they feel passionate almost when speaking about the candidate? These are also signs to look for when gauging a candidate's past performance. 


Additional Resources

You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with hiring prerequisites and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics 

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