HR Essentials: Hiring & Firing Employees

When it comes to hiring and firing employees there are a number of factors to take into consideration.

Background checks

  • Incredibly useful tool that details someone’s history and requires a consent form. These will include a basic criminal check to see if they’ve ever been convicted of any crimes.

An offer letter

  • A non-binding written statement of the terms, the job and what is being offered.

Employment agreement

  • Details the terms of their employment, including a confidentiality agreement.

Release of claims

  • Contract in which an employee agrees not to sue a company.

Contractor agreement

  • Contract between company and non-employee stating terms of work.

Employees vs. contractors

  • Contractors are paid a set fee and responsible for their own taxes.
  • Employees are at direction and control of employer.
  • If a person uses your resources and works at your direction, they should be your employee.


  • Required to be paid in California if providing a marketable service.
  • Can be unpaid if receiving college credit, mentorship or training.

Non-exempt employee

  • Entry-level, under manager status.
  • Task-based function in company.
  • Hourly pay rate.
  • Required to receive overtime pay.

Exempt Employee

  • Receives an annualized salary and does not qualify for overtime pay.


  • Any state of employment in which both the employer and employee may terminate at any time. To avoid post-termination headaches, keep documentation of feedback, communication of expectations and performance evaluations.

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