Your business is humming along and you’re thinking about expanding. It’s official: you need some help around the office. Take some time and research how to hire your first employees. Once you’ve decided that you need to start building a workforce, there is much to learn about job discrimination laws and privacy issues. You will want to stay in compliance – and on the right side of that fine line between a thorough vetting of candidates and potential lawsuits.
Under laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or genetic information.
Use the EEOC discrimination rules for all of your recruiting efforts and when writing your job descriptions. Include language that identifies your business as an Equal Opportunity Employer. Communicate that nothing in the job posting guarantees employment.
As you interview job candidates, don’t ask any questions that address the EEOC’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or genetic information subjects. Also don’t tell the applicant anything false or misleading. To avoid saying something that might trigger a lawsuit, thoroughly prepare questions for all interviews.
A background check is any combination of reports collected about an individual for employment purposes by a third-party consumer reporting agency under national standards set by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA). The primary purpose of a background check and the more straightforward reference check is to verify the accuracy of information your job applicant has supplied.
Unless you are in a safety-related business that requires it, the decision to drug test job applicants is yours alone. You can’t force an applicant to take a drug test, but if you make it a requirement for employment, you must follow the EEOC anti-discrimination rules and guard against invasions of privacy.