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Common Employment Practices Liabilities in the Hiring Process

Common Employment Practices Liabilities in the Hiring ProcessThe hiring process can be wonderful for employers, but while it is exciting to add new talent to the team, the process can be dangerous if you are not careful. Just as applicants are expected to obey certain codes of conduct when applying for jobs, employers need to mind their behavior as well, though it’s not just  about etiquette: there are many legal restrictions on the hiring process, and disobeying them could lead to costly lawsuits. Protect your business with Employment Practices Liability Insurance and familiarize yourself with some of the most prominent risks.

Job Descriptions and Applications

When designing the job’s description, be specific in what you are looking for in a candidate and what the position will require, but do not use language that implies bias in age, gender, race, or other personal quality. Focus on the job itself, not the person who will be filling it. In addition, make sure that your application includes a statement that you are an “Equal Opportunity Employer” as well as a statement that filling out an application does not guarantee employment.

Interview Questions

Generally, it is best to plan your interview questions ahead of time and stick to the plan during interviews. While you might be tempted to go off-script (particularly if the interviewee has a charming personality), you don’t want to run the risk of certain off-limits topics. Overall, you should keep all questions relevant to the job and the candidate’s performance, and avoid the following topics, in accordance with fair hiring laws:

  • Questions about race
  • Questions about age (unless you are asking a newly hired employee to provide proof that he or she is over the age of eighteen)
  • Questions about religious beliefs (unless they relate to job performance)
  • Questions about disabilities that do not involve how the candidate would perform the job
  • Questions about marital or family status
  • Questions about alcohol, drug use (except for “Do you currently use illegal drugs?”), or criminal activities (except for “Have you been convicted of a crime?”)

Pre-Employment Testing

Pre-employment testing is subject to the standards of the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP), which states that while employers may use pre-employment tests to make hiring decisions, the tests must be job-related and must not be discriminatory. While the “job-related” description is broad, certain types of tests can be illegal. For example, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, pre-hire tests cannot be conducted as a medical or mental health test, though they could potentially be permitted if they are proven to be necessary for job performance (for example, police forces often screen for psychological health). In addition, forms of testing that can potentially exclude members of certain groups or give them a disadvantage in the hiring process should not be used.

About Axis Insurance Services

Axis Insurance Services specializes in providing employers with EPLI coverage and would be happy to discuss this must-have protection with you, particularly critical in today’s litigious environment. Just give us a call at (201) 847-9175.

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Blogged on: September 26, 2017 by Mike Smith

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