So you’re thinking about hiring a new employee? Should you be using a job offer letter, or what communication should you have with them? I believe it’s a best practice to indeed use a job offer letter to the employee. In that letter, you should be explaining to them what you’re hiring, what they’re going to be doing, what the terms of compensation are, and then typically, you’re also going to include a statement stating that the employment is at will and it may be terminated. If you choose to use an employment manual, which we will cover in another blog, you will also want to give the employee that employment manual before they start so that they understand the terms and conditions of their employment and what they’re expected to do.
The key here is to have a clear written communication to the employee that explains what’s going on. Writing is so critical because it gives clear evidence of what was said and done. Oral meetings can be a litigation nightmare. If you have the employee come in, you sit down during a job interview and maybe have a phone call afterward to discuss the terms of hiring the employee, you often end up in a situation where it’s a “He said, she said.” In litigation, this is a true nightmare because neither party will agree with the other about what was said or how it was done.
However, if you use the same principle in a written document, you have a piece of evidence that clearly indicates what was told, and then it becomes much harder for the parties to do things otherwise. If you’re hiring employees, I highly encourage you to use an offer letter to explain the terms and conditions of the employment and make sure the employee understands what they’re getting themselves into and that you have a clear documentation of what the expectations are. This puts everybody on the same page and also builds a great record in the event of a future dispute.
What’s been your experience? Has your company been using offer letters? How have you been dealing with bringing perspective employees into your business? Join us in the comments below and let us know about your thoughts and experience.
This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/Photographer Odan Jaegar.
About the Author
Shawn McBride — R. Shawn McBride is the Managing Member of The R. Shawn McBride Law Firm, PLLC. Shawn works successful, private business owners in their growth and missions to make a company that stands the test of time. You can email R. Shawn McBride or call (214) 418-0258.
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