The first step in reducing this risk is to ensure that every hire is “clean”, and made purely on the basis of job requirements. The Americans with Disabilities Act has very strict ruleas about what employers can and cannot ask during the hiring process.
To help the cause, industrial relationship experts recommend these guidelines:
- Avoid discriminatory language when advertising job opportunities. For instance, an advertisement stating “young” or “recent grad” might discriminate against older job applicants, while “’salesman” implies discrimination based on gender.
- Have a specific job description that gives the essential functions and abilities of the job.
- Use a standardized interview form that asks all applicants the same questions – which must be related to the job.
- Don’t ask applicants questions that might identify their membership in a protected class such as age, religion, or national origin, unless it’s essential to the job (For example, a parochial school can ask about the religion of a potential teacher, but not a maintenance worker).
- Never ask whether an applicant is married, pregnant, has children, or is planning to do so.
- Ask only questions related to the applicant’s ability to perform specific job functions, not personal items such as past history as such as drug addiction.
- If an applicant is otherwise fit for a position, don’t refuse to hire him or her based on presumed susceptibility to injury. You can, however, set bona fide physical criteria required by a job, such as the ability to lift a certain weight.
Although these “ounce of prevention” tips can help curb hiring-related discrimination claims, your business also may need a comprehensive Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy to protect against employee lawsuits.
For more information, just give us a call. We’re in the business of protecting you.