The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Recruiting on the Right Side of the Law

When making your next employment picks, remember the recruiting laws that may trip you upThroughout the search process, compliance rears its ugly head again! There are several laws that impact the recruiting cycle that you must be aware of. Below are some parts of the recruiting puzzle that can run afoul of the law and what you can do to avoid them.

Marketing the position – Be aware of the wording used in ads. You cannot use words that would discriminate or deter a candidate from applying based on any criteria in Title VII, or other segments of the population that may be protected by law. Some examples of protected categories include age, gender, religion, etc.

Interview Questions – All questions must be job-related and unbiased. You should ask similar questions of all candidates. The questions should not elicit information that would lead to discriminatory information being shared. Some examples of topics that you should not inquire about include medical conditions, national origin, age, arrest record, marital status, gender, disability and sexual orientation. The list is often extended by State and Local law – so be sure to check those too!

Americans with Disabilities Act – Applies to candidates as well as employees. Interview space must be accessible to those with disabilities; and candidates can only be asked if they can complete the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation.

Citizenship – A candidate cannot be asked about their citizenship, only their ability to legally work in the United States. An I-9 form cannot be completed until after an employee has been offered a position. Once hired, the I-9 must be completed within 72 hours of starting work.

Background and credit checks – In general, there must be a job-related basis for conducting background or credit checks. There are several state and local laws that govern this area; be sure to check before completing any investigation.

Pre-employment testing – Concerns exist with tests’ reliability and accuracy in predicting success of a candidate. For this reason, you should always use tests that are professionally marketed and guaranteed to be compliant with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Medical exam and drug testing – Candidates cannot be subject to any medical testing, including a drug test, until the job is offered.

Ban the box –This concept states that you may not ask questions about criminal history on the employment application. Currently it is regulated at the state and local level.

Be sure before you just set off to find new team members, you understand the obligations of recruiting in a fair and non-discriminatory way.  Remember, the entire process needs to focus on who is qualified to do the work of the job that is open.  If you treat all candidates with respect and fairness your organization should be compliant.

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