The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012 to 2016 focuses on eliminating systemic barriers in recruitment and hiring, specifically class-based intentional hiring discrimination and facially neutral hiring practices that adversely impact particular groups. According to the EEOC, racial and ethnic minorities, older workers, women, and people with disabilities are confronted with discriminatory policies and practices throughout the recruitment and hiring process. Some of these discriminatory policies and practices include exclusionary policies and practices, the channeling/steering of individuals into specific jobs due to their status in a particular group, restrictive application processes and the use of screening tools (e.g., pre-employment tests, background screens, date of birth screens in online applications) that adversely impact groups protected under the law.
Employers are encouraged to review their recruitment and hiring policies to ensure they are in strict compliance with the law. This includes any pre-employment testing, i.e. assessment tests, as well as applicant screening practices. Employers should also review any tools that are used to reject candidates, such as background checks or testings. Recently, the EEOC directed employers to only conduct a criminal background check on an applicant when it is job related and consistent with business necessity. The EEOC also reminds employers to review any tests or screenings used to promote employees to make sure they are law compliant and sufficiently train employees involved in the hiring process. The EEOC notes that the use of a third party vendor to manage the recruitment or hiring process, or create or conduct assessment tests or screening practices, will not absolve an employer of being compliant with laws.
Because of the access EEOC has to obtain data and documents and potential evidence of discrimination in recruitment and hiring, the EEOC has determined that it is better situated to address these issues than individuals or private attorneys who have difficulties obtaining such information.
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