New Hire Documents

When employees start a new job, it is customary for employers to provide a “new hire packet” of documents. This will typically include a welcome letter, copies of the completed and signed job application, the job description, government, and tax forms, background check consent forms, benefits information, direct deposit enrollment forms, as well as an employee handbook.

Most of these new hire documents are mandatory by federal or California law while others are strongly suggested to protect your business. If you need assistance in preparing a new hire package, our firm can help you create one based on the needs that suit your company.

Required Documents:

These are some of the notices and policies that California employers must provide their employees. This is not an exhaustive list, and additional requirements will vary based on your specific industry, business size, and other factors.

Notice to Employee

California employers are required to provide a notice to all employees, which the following information:

  1. The rate(s) of pay and the basis of pay (i.e. hourly, weekly, salary, piece-rate, commission);
  2. Allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage, for example for meal or lodging;
  3. The regular payday(s);
  4. The employer’s name, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer;
  5. The employer’s physical address of the main office or principal place of business – a P.O. Box is not sufficient – and a mailing address;
  6. The employer’s telephone number;
  7. The name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier;
  8. And employees’ rights regarding the accrual and use of sick leave, and to be free from retaliation for taking sick leave.
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Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Policy

All companies must have written anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, and California law requires certain provisions to be included. Your policy must include all the components listed within California Code of Regulations, 2 C.C.R. section 11023, and must include, per the Department of Fair Employment & Housing, “a description of legal categories, a complaint process, instructions for supervisors, and identification of the DFEH and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as additional avenues for employees to lodge complaints.”

Strongly Recommended Documents:

Comprehensive Timekeeping and Wage & Hour Policies

Creating, distributing, and training employees on a comprehensive set of wage and hour policies will provide your company with critical protection in the event of a lawsuit. Among the first documents that wage and hour plaintiffs’ attorneys will seek are the employer’s written policies regarding timekeeping, meal breaks, rest breaks, overtime, and off-the-clock work. Having compliant policies will assist in demonstrating that your company complies with the Labor Code.

At-Will Employment

In California, employees are considered at-will unless there is an agreement with the employer that guarantees employment for a certain period. Employers may fire an employee for any reason or none, as long as they do not terminate employees as the result of discrimination based on protected categories, as discussed above. It is advisable to include a statement of at-will employment in the new-hire documents.

Arbitration Agreement and Class Action Waiver

It is recommended that new hires sign an arbitration agreement with a class action waiver. Although California courts have become more restrictive as to independent contractors, the United States Supreme Court continues to expand companies’ ability to require arbitration.

What Not to Include

Before you hire new employees, you likely have them fill out a job application or questionnaire. Although you can ask who their previous employers were and their dates of employment, one question you may NOT include is how much they made at their previous job. California Labor Code section 432.3 prohibits asking job applicants about their salary history, including compensation and benefits, either “personally or through an agent.”

Whether you are just starting a brand new company, run a “mom & pop” business, or already have a large established corporate enterprise, we are here to grow with you and meet your legal needs.

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