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Beware of discrimination when recruiting

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Employment Litigation |

As a business owner, you know people who work for you could bring an employment lawsuit against you. Yet you might not know people who apply to work for you could do the same. A job applicant could take legal action if they believe you have breached employment law by discriminating against them in the recruitment process.

Here are some tips to protect your company from accusations of discrimination:

Do not ask people about protected characteristics on their applications

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lists these as:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

Note that “sex” covers gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy. So you cannot ask a woman if she is pregnant or refuse to employ her because she is. Why should you not ask these things on the application form? Because they cannot enter your thinking on who you recruit.

Is it acceptable to ask for a video resume?

You may have seen other companies asking people to send in video resumes. You can certainly get a lot of information that way, yet, it leaves you more open to accusations that you turned someone down because they were in a protected category that the video makes obvious.

Hiring sounds like a nightmare. What can I do?

Getting legal help to review your application process does not breach any rules is a good start, as is taking a look around your current workforce. Could someone walk into your office and think you may be discriminating against people? Or do you have a diverse workforce that makes it clear you do not?


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