CNA logoKey to Quality Care

A systematic hiring process is essential to recruiting and retaining a qualified, committed workforce. By implementing the following strategies, home care providers can protect themselves against client dissatisfaction, lawsuits, incidents of fraud or theft, and a damaged reputation. In addition, these basic precautionary measures can reduce the likelihood of negligent hiring and employment practices liability claims, including allegations of discrimination, invasion of privacy and wrongful termination.

Job descriptions. Prior to hiring a new employee, draft an accurate job description, including general duties and responsibilities, specific tasks, critical knowledge and skills, and physical demands, if applicable. Stated requirements should be reasonable and reflect actual job functions.

Applications. Require applicants to complete, sign and date a detailed application, which includes:

  • full name
  • addresses for past 10 years
  • educational background
  • detailed employment history, including reasons for leaving or considering leaving the most recent job and explanations for gaps in employment
  • availability for work
  • driving record (if relevant)
  • statement that applicant can perform essential job functions
  • response to question as to whether the applicant has worked at or applied to the company previously
  • references, both personal and professional
  • EEO/ADA (i.e., non-discrimination) statement
  • statement certifying that answers submitted are correct, along with notification that any false information will lead to rejection of applicant or termination if hired

Conversely, do not include questions designed to elicit information that can lead to allegations of discrimination, such as:

  • maiden or previous name/title
  • citizenship or birthplace
  • information about children or other family commitments
  • race, religion or ethnicity
  • date of birth or high school graduation
  • physical description or photo
  • whether English is applicant’s first language
  • club or union memberships

On another form, obtain applicants’ written consent to confirm their stated job and educational history, contact references and conduct a criminal background check, if applicable.

Applicants should sign a statement acknowledging that they understand that employment is contingent upon successful completion of a drug test and/or criminal background check, as well as confirmation of credentials/licensure.

(Note that in some states, it is unlawful to ask about an applicant’s arrest or conviction record on the application. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] guidance recommends caution when inquiring about conviction records, as this action may have a disparate impact on certain protected classes.)

Background checks. Inquiries should be thoroughly and consistently implemented and documented, verifying education, licensure, credentials and references. Criminal background checks should query an applicant’s conviction history and sex offender status. Credit checks should be conducted only if they are relevant to the position, and only if consideration of such information is not prohibited by state or municipal law.

Exercise caution when screening prospective employees based upon judicial record or credit history. EEOC guidance discourages automatic rejection due to a criminal conviction, instead suggesting that employers individually assess each applicant to ensure that exclusions are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Similarly, EEOC guidance discourages the use of credit information in hiring decisions. This complex issue calls for consultation with an attorney versed in employment practices law, specifically in the areas of criminal background and credit checks.

Drug testing. If drug testing is part of the hiring process, establish a policy stating:

  • testing timetable
  • positions to which testing applies
  • specific substances to be tested for
  • testing procedures
  • consequences of a positive result

Drug testing should be performed only after a contingent offer of employment has been tendered. As laws vary from state to state, consult with an attorney specializing in employment law to ensure compliance.

Long-term success depends on high-quality caregivers. For every home care company, a thorough, consistent hiring process is a sound investment in the future.

The information, examples and suggestions presented in this material have been developed from sources believed to be reliable, but they should not be construed as legal or other professional advice. CNA accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this material and recommends the consultation with competent legal counsel and/or other professional advisors before applying this material in any particular factual situations. Please note that Internet hyperlinks cited herein are active as of the date of publication, but may be subject to change or discontinuation. This material is for illustrative purposes and is not intended to constitute a contract. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. Use of the term “partnership” and/or “partner” should not be construed to represent a legally binding partnership. CNA is a registered trademark of CNA Financial Corporation. Copyright ©2013 CNA. All rights reserved.