One of the most important decisions a company makes is who its employees will be. Given that fact, simply relying upon a resume without follow-up reference checks of the candidates is a mistake. An employment application gives the employer the opportunity to make appropriate inquiries regarding the information on the application in order to evaluate the candidate rather than simply relying on information the candidate chooses to provide in a resume. Employment application inquiries must be fair, objective, and nondiscriminatory. For example, in their application employers should not seek information that would reveal a candidate’s protected class such as race, color, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
The application also provides the company with the opportunity to have the candidate acknowledge that, if hired, he would be deemed an employee at will and may resign or be terminated at any time with or without notice and with or without cause.
Further, it can include a clear statement that the candidate acknowledges that neither the application nor any employment handbook or personnel policies will constitute a contract between the employee and the employer.
Applications should also have statements signed by the candidate that can assist the company in its reference process by having the applicant certify that (a) all the information provided by him in the application and any attached resume is true and correct, (b) if it is discovered at any time that there is any misrepresentation or omission in that application and/or attached resume, it is grounds for discharge and (c) the applicant authorizes the company to check and verify all information on the application.
This signed statement in the application should also fully release the company from any liability resulting from the verification process. It should also authorize and request all the applicant’s present and former employers and personal references furnish information about the candidate’s employment record, including a statement of the reasons for termination of his prior employment, work performance, abilities, and other qualities pertinent to his qualification for employment. It should also include a release of those present and former employers and personal references from any and all liability arising from furnishing the requested information.
J. Daniel Marr is a Director and Shareholder at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. His legal practice includes counseling businesses and individuals on a variety of legal issues and advocating on their behalf. Attorney Marr is licensed and practices in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Attorney Marr can be reached at [email protected].