The 9 Key Pitfalls of Hiring

Hispanic small businesses must be aware of laws relating to the hiring of employees.



As any Hispanic small business owner knows, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of federal, state and local laws that must be followed in the course of a day. What the small Hispanic business owner might not know is that all businesses also must comply with the dozens of employment laws relating to the hiring of employees.

Here are some of the pitfalls, which all small business owners should be aware of when hiring:

1. Make sure the hiring decision is not based on an applicant’s protected status, such as the his or her race, color, gender, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, etc.

Just ask yourself whether the applicant was hired or rejected because of his or her protected status. If so, you may be subjecting your business to litigation.

2. Make sure you receive an authorization from the applicant to conduct reference and background checks.

Some states, for example, allow criminal background and credit checks but require that the applicant receive a copy of the results, especially if the checks are the reason the applicant is not hired. Because the law in this area is very complicated and varies from state to state, you should seek assistance from legal counsel to develop the necessary notice and disclosure forms for proper background and credit checks.

3. Make sure your employment application does not seek private or protected information such as the applicant’s age (by seeking, for example, the applicant’s birth date or dates of high school and college graduation), marital status, religion, place of birth or disabilities.

In addition, some states prohibit employers from asking about arrest histories. Even the most innocent of questions can be used by overzealous applicants to support a discrimination claim.

4. Any person conducting applicant interviews should not ask about private or protected information during the interview.

All persons who interview applicants should be trained to conduct appropriate and objective interviews.

Next page- Hiring pitfalls 5 through 9

Emma Luevano
Emma Luevano is a regular contributor to on legal issues relevant to small and medium business. She is a partner at the law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP ( who advises and represents management on labor and employment matters, including sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination, public policy violations, wrongful termination, class action wage and hour issues,and retaliation.