As starting pay increases, so do bias lawsuits.

"Post and pray" isn't a viable recruiting strategy anymore. During this historic labor crunch, employers are getting more creative (and aggressive) in their employee recruitment efforts. And that increasingly means boosting pay for new employees.

Senior managers cite "increasing starting salaries" as the top strategy currently being used to attract skilled candidates, according to Robert Half's new State of U.S. Hiring Survey (see box at right).

However, this strategy can spark unintended consequences if new hires are paid more than current employees for the same job. That could easily light the fire of a discrimination lawsuit.

Best practice: If you have a set salary range for each job, stick with it. If you must raise starting pay to attract new hires, consider raising current employees' pay, too.

Top hiring strategies Increase starting salaries 55% Offer more remote options 50% Provide signing bonuses 44% Give more paid time off 41% Loosen job requirements 31% Source: Robert Half survey, 2,300 employers Either way, make sure you can justify each employee's salary with specific business-related reasons unrelated to any protected characteristic like age, sex, race and so on.

The key step is to...

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