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News & Press: Affinity HR Group Resources

Q&A - Hiring New Employee While Others Are Furloughed

Monday, August 10, 2020  
Posted by: Priscilla Gil
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Question

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our business model has changed. The service that was our primary source of income has not been needed so we had furloughed most of our employees. However, demand for our secondary or new service has exploded. Unfortunately, most of the furloughed employees do not have the skills and experience to provide this secondary or new service, and we need help now. Can we hire a new employee while other employees are still furloughed?

 

Answer

Yes, probably.

In most employment-at-will situations, you are able to employ the best person for the job you need done. This means that, if currently-furloughed employees do not have the skills or talents to effectively perform the job duties you need, you should be able to hire a new employee. It is essential to hire someone who has different abilities, education, or experience than anyone currently in your workforce that enable them to perform that service when and how you need it.

There may be more restrictions to your ability to hire a new employee if you have employees under a CBA (labor contract) or depending on how you worded the furlough notice.

As always, document your decisions and procedures to be able to show that you hired the new employee based on the services they could provide rather than to replace a furloughed employee for a discriminatory reason.


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