Blog Posts: Employment Discrimination
Pre-employment personality testing is becoming increasingly popular with employers. Administering the tests online, instead of using paper and pencil, as was done in the past, has made it easier to test larger numbers of job applicants. This increase in personality testing carries with it a new risk: As the amount of data obtained from test takers grows, the ability to prove unintentional bias grows along with it.
Employers that use pre-employment skills testing that has an adverse impact on minorities may be violating federal anti-discrimination laws if the employers cannot prove that the tests are related to job performance. A large food-processing company recently had to pay more than half a million dollars to settle a case involving this issue.
On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new enforcement guidance, on the use of criminal records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The guidance consolidates and supersedes policy statements that were last issued in 1990.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, salary and promotions. An agricultural supply company recently paid $140,000 to a job applicant to settle a case brought against the company by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) for allegedly basing a hiring decision on the applicant’s pregnancy.
It's common for employers to look at the public Facebook pages of job applicants. In a new twist, though, some employers want to peek into private Facebook accounts. Some employers have been asking applicants to "friend" them, let them watch while the applicants log into their accounts, or even hand over their Facebook passwords. Others are asking applicants to sign into third-party apps that collect information, such as friend lists, from their profiles.
While many of the country's leading companies make a highly visible effort to welcome and encourage diversity, some companies seem stuck in the past. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently sued Mavis Discount Tire, a company that sells automobile parts and services. According to the lawsuit, Mavis hired 1,300 new managers, mechanics and tire installers over a three-year period -- and not a single one of those new hires was a woman.
New Internet technologies are changing the way companies screen job applicants. Some companies don’t even want to look at traditional résumés any more, and are instead asking applicants to send links to their online activities or – the latest thing – to submit video interviews. Several start-up companies provide sites to record and transmit the pre-screening interviews, usually short sessions where applicants answer a few questions posed by the hiring firms. It’s convenient both for hiring firms, which get more information than they can glean from paper trails alone, and for applicants, who can record the videos on their home computers.
The number of older people in the workforce is going to continue to increase, according to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau estimates that by 2018, there will be 43 percent more workers aged 55 and older than there were in 2008. The changing workforce makes it even more important for employers to take precautions against age discrimination.