Skip to main content
A Better Partnership


Mar 2006
March 13, 2006

Make Your Employment Application Work for You

A key personnel document that many employers take for granted is the employment application. Many employers use applications that are simply copies of forms purchased from an office supply store or worse yet, borrowed from another employer. By making a small investment in your application form and by properly structuring your hiring process, you can not only avoid problems, but also protect your organization.

The traditional employment application form requests and prominently displays the applicant's name and social security number. In this age of identity theft, consider whether you really need a social security number as part of the application process. If not, why not wait until the individual is hired or formally offered the position before obtaining it? Another alternative is to position personal data inquiries on the inside or back of the form. Once you obtain this data, keep in mind that Michigan law may limit how you use, display or disseminate it. Also, Michigan Courts have held that an organization may be liable if it negligently handles personal information (including names, addresses and social security numbers) and that causes harm to the applicant or employee.

The application also allows you to affirm and obtain the applicant's agreement to your terms and conditions of employment. For example, are you an "at-will" employer? If so, state that on the application form above where the applicant signs and dates it. You can also get the applicant to agree to limit the time period during which he or she will bring a lawsuit against you. It is now well established in Michigan that an employer and an applicant or employee may shorten the time period during which potential employment claims may be brought, and periods as short as six (6) months have often been upheld. The application form is the ideal place to do this. Other things to consider as part of the application or the application process include obtaining consent to drug testing or background checks, confidentiality, and covenants not to compete.

There are many other things to consider in constructing your employment application and structuring your hiring process. If you have any questions or would like us to review your application form or other employment documents, please contact Geri Drozdowski or any member of our Labor and Employment Law Practice Group.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.



+ -