Hiring managers and human resources personnel should know how to avoid discrimination when hiring. An article in the Tallahasee.com has more information:
“Most business owners don’t deliberately discriminate against people; they are more focused on getting the right person for the job quickly and efficiently. However, it is the unintentional discrimination caused by certain recruiting practices that can lead to legal claims.
Depending on the number of employees in your company, state and federal laws prohibit discrimination against “protected classes.” These classes include age (over 40), race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status, disability, veteran status and genetic information.
Pregnancy is also protected; there are county and city ordinances to be aware of as well. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal governing body and is responsible for monitoring claims.
Here are 5 suggestions to help you avoid the appearance of discrimination when recruiting.
• Review the employment application — Make sure the information requested is a requirement of the job. Avoid asking for information that might give the appearance of discriminating against protected classes. For example, if your application asks for the year of high school graduation, you’ll have an idea of that person’s age, which could raise the question of age discrimination.
• Keep decision makers separate from identifying documents — Businesses often need birthdates for background checks and larger businesses need to track information on protected classes for EEOC purposes. The EEOC recommends using separate forms the hiring manager won’t see to avoid the appearance of discrimination.
• Think twice about checking social media — Many recruiters are checking Facebook, Twitter or other sites hoping to find information not provided on the resume. However, this information can include race, family status, and pregnancy. Once you have that knowledge, it can’t be unknown.
• Be careful what you ask — Prepare interview questions before hand so you can avoid potentially discriminatory questions. “Do you have a car?” can have a greater adverse impact on minorities and women, so unless a car is a requirement of the job you want to avoid that line of inquiry. Consider why you’re asking. Is it for punctuality? Phrase your question accordingly; for example, “We require everyone to be here promptly at 8 a.m. Does this pose a problem for you?”
• Provide a job description as part of the interview — You can use the description as a basis for your interview questions and the applicant knows exactly what is required. If a person with a disability can’t perform one of the tasks with or without reasonable accommodation, it would come to light without the recruiter having to ask directly.
Being sensitive to unintentional discrimination will not only help you get the best person for the job, it will also help you stay in compliance with laws designed to reduce discrimination in the workplace. “
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