Hiring Law & Ethics and Employment Practices Liability

Finding and hiring talented employees is a difficult enough task by itself. Reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, and determining which individual is the best fit takes time, and time equals money. However, recruiters and employers also need to consider the legal aspects of hiring if they want to avoid a discrimination lawsuit. Employers need to take pains during every step of the hiring process to ensure they are beyond reproach. For example, a poorly worded job posting or interview question can open a company up to a discrimination claim.

Interview Process

The interview process is rife with discrimination traps. While an interviewer needs to determine the best candidate for the job, the way they ask questions can come across as discriminatory. For example, say a job position requires the candidate to be available at all hours of the day. Assuming a working parent cannot meet this obligation is discriminatory. Asking questions such as, “Do you drive your child to and from school?” opens the door to a lawsuit. Instead, employers should make job listings clear and state in no uncertain terms what the work hours and expectations are.

Reference Checks

Calling job references can create discrimination headaches as well. A simple rule of thumb is this: if an employer cannot ask the question during an interview, they cannot ask it of a reference either. For example, if an interviewer noticed an applicant had a physical disability, they cannot ask previous employers about it. Instead, employers can ask about the applicant’s job performance, attendance, etc. These are legal and legitimate questions to help determine which candidate is the most qualified for the position.

Any individuals involved in the hiring process needs to be aware of all potential discrimination concerns. Employers who face discrimination lawsuits not only lose time and money spent on defense, their reputation suffers as well. To learn more about hiring best practices, contact The Reilly Company. We can help you avoid legal snares and reduce the risk of discrimination litigation.