Protecting yourself and your organization from lawsuits starts the minute you decide to hire someone. Potential lawsuit land mines line your path.
To stay out of court, build your hiring process around these principles:
1. Create a job description that’s accurate, job related, nondiscriminatory and up-to-date.
2. Advertise the opening in a way that complies with state, federal and local anti-discrimination laws and attracts qualified candidates.
3. Conduct interviews in a way that accommodates applicants with disabilities and shows that you aren’t using the process to screen out qualified members of protected classes.
4. Use a selection process that is blind to a candidate’s race, sex, age (if over 40), national origin and religion, and that offers reasonable accommodations to qualified disabled applicants.
Hiring laws you must know
Federal laws provide a patchwork of legislation protecting workers and applicants from discrimination.
Best known is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin.
Employers must also comply with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work from sex-based wage discrimination.
The of 1978 makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy and childbirth or related medical conditions. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects individuals who are age 40 or older.
The ADA protects qualified disabled individuals from discrimination and mandates that employers take affirmative steps to accommodate them in the workplace.
3 levels of enforcement
The EEOC enforces most federal employment discrimination laws, while the U.S. Department of Labor administers most federal wage-and-hour laws.
Most states have their own departments of labor and equal employment commissions, as well as laws that parallel federal ones or offer even greater protection for workers. Often, those state laws cover employers with fewer workers than do the federal laws.
Many cities have employment ordinances that prohibit discrimination on additional grounds, including protection and equal benefits for people in same-sex relationships.
To stay out of court, employers must make it their business to understand federal, state and local laws.
In 2008 alone, employers paid out $274.4 million to settle EEOC claims. That figure does not include the millions awarded by trial juries.
Click to download our free training guide, The 10 Employment Laws Every Manager Should Know. Feel free to distribute it to your supervisory team.
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