Hiring employees for a business is something that just about every employer must do to support their company. The process of seeking, interviewing and hiring the best candidates can be extensive, and employers often take a wide range of factors into consideration before extending an offer.
However, it is crucial that these factors and processes are not discriminatory. If an employer is accused of treating certain applicants unfairly, he or she could face serious penalties for violating employment laws that are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Knowing what may be grounds for a discrimination claim could help employers avoid costly missteps.
Generally speaking, it is unlawful to take race, sex, pregnancy, religion, age or disability into account when seeking or hiring job applicants. This may seem fairly simple to understand, but it can be difficult to anticipate all the times during which an employer may be accused of discrimination.
Avoiding discrimination is not just limited to making the decision to hire one candidate over another. Employers must also be sure that other areas of the hiring process are free from discrimination. These areas include:
- Recruiting workers
- Advertising a job opening
- Conducting pre-employment tests
- Making job referrals
- Assigning tasks
- Promoting workers
- Setting wages and benefits
- Giving an employment reference for a former employee
- Enforcing workplace dress codes
If an employer unfairly favors or discriminates against people of a certain race, age or religion, employees or job applicants who have been denied an opportunity may decide to take legal action against an employer.
In order to try and avoid a messy legal battle, it can be a good idea for employers to discuss their hiring practices with an attorney in order to ensure that they are fair and do not open an employer to the potential for a lawsuit. If a claim has already been filed, employers can discuss their case with a lawyer who can help them understand what their options are for moving toward a resolution.