How to avoid discrimination practices during the hiring process
- On 21 July 2017
- Posted by Chantal Mariotti
It is illegal to discriminate against any protected category during your interview process. The Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, which include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, all prevent employers from favoring and/or discriminating against candidates based on race, color, age, religion, medical condition, disability, etc. Companies that discriminate against prospective employees place themselves at risk for potential law suits.
Be consistent in the interview process – have all applicants complete an application form and ask the same questions to all candidates. Throughout the hiring process, consistency is “key”. Making sure to ask all candidates the same questions during the interview process can prevent perceived or real instances of discrimination. During the interview, never ask questions based on the candidate’s race, religion, age, national origin, or any other protected category.
Make sure you respond to all candidates, even if you decide not to hire them. If a candidate does not seem to be an adequate fit for your open position, send them a professional and thoughtful email or letter, following up on their interview. It is an HR best practice to keep all candidates informed about their application process.
Maintain all documentation. Record maintenance is an important practice that can prepare you for potential litigation. Make sure you are familiar with the Records Retention law pertaining to employment applications.
Inappropriate pre-employment questions can include the following:
- Marital status or maiden name;
- Child care arrangements, number or age of children, family issues;
- Home owner or renter inquiries;
- Mode or method of transportation;
- Age, date of birth, date of school graduation
- Birthplace or citizenship inquiries;
- Nationality, ancestry, descent, mother tongue, preferred or most commonly used language, source of ability to speak other language(s);
- Hair, skin, eye color or complexion, race or color, or requiring a photograph;
- Height, weight questions;
- Health or medical history, work-related injury history or reasons for previous absences;
- Physical limitation, handicaps, disabilities, source or reasons for (obvious) disability, nature of, severity of, or prognosis of (obvious) disability or extent of disability;
- Religion or religious days observed;
- Financial or credit history (including bankruptcy), or ability to be bonded;
- Dates of military service, type of discharge, or service in foreign military;
- Membership in social or fraternal organizations, clubs societies and lodges;
- Any other questions that would elicit information about any of the above protected groups.
We can walk you through the hiring process, to make sure you are compliant with all employment laws and HR best practices. The hiring process involves many laws and regulations, therefore it’s important to seek help from your HR representative, an HR consultant or your legal counsel to make sure the process meets the above guidelines. We have helped many companies with their hiring process and are aware of the laws and regulations needed to keep companies out of trouble.