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Why is the hiring process legally risky for companies?

Don't let that question in the title scare you. It isn't as if companies are going to stop hiring people because of legal risks that are inherent to the process. Instead, the question is merely meant to warn companies against the potential pitfalls of the hiring process.

It may not seem like something that carries a lot of legal risk, but hiring a new employee really does. First and foremost, you are going to have to interview your prospective employees, and obviously the one you choose will have gone through many meetings with you before he or she becomes part of the staff. During those interviews, though, you can't ask the interviewee many questions, such as their marital status, their religion, their desire to have a child someday, and their citizenship, just to name a few topics that are off-limits.

You will also likely perform a background check on that employee, and here again you have to make sure you are going about the process in a proper fashion. You have to protect that person's information and use it properly. If you do choose that person as your new employee, you will have to set up many different things for them, such as health care, payroll information and workers' comp insurance. Again, all of this must be done properly.

Throughout it all, you also want everyone at your company to be on the same page. If a current employee offers the job to someone who actually wasn't supposed to get an offer, it can cause legal headaches for your company.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Rights During the Hiring Process," Accessed March 3, 2016

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