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Hiring your first employee? Be careful

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Business Formation & Planning

You will probably need to bring others on board if you are starting your own business. The day-to-day tasks of running a company can eat into the time you have available to deal with clients and do the things you hope your company will become known for doing.

If you have a friend that could help, you might think getting their help will be straightforward. Yet, friend or not, you need to abide by both state and federal employment law when you employ your first person

Here are some things to consider:

  • What can they expect of you? Make things like pay, holiday and sick leave rights clear and check you abide by applicable standards.
  • What can they do if they are not happy? This will become more important as you grow and take on more staff. You need to have a clear route that employees can follow to report discrimination or harassment. Otherwise, they might assume the only option is to take you to court if it happens.
  • What do you expect of them? Outlining a role can be hard at the start. You might need someone to do a bit of everything. Yet, you need to come up with some expectations to avoid them feeling lost, and you think they are not pulling their weight. 
  • What can you do if you are not happy? Outline disciplinary procedures you can use if needed. It avoids surprises and claims of wrongful dismissal when your fire someone for not doing the job.

Your first attempt to define such things will not be perfect, so update it as you learn. Above all, be clear and be kind.

Get help early

You might not have much time for all this if you are busy trying to get operations off the ground, so consider seeking help from someone who understands employment law and can help you navigate what can be a challenging process. You might think it is unnecessary, but the consequences of getting it wrong and facing a lawsuit from an employee are not something you want to handle.