Issue: Programs that scan résumés and applications can speed the hiring process but open you to bias lawsuits.
Risk: Your system could, unknowingly, reject a disproportionate number of applicants from a protected class.
Action: Follow the three steps below to avoid legal trouble.
If your company uses electronic résumé and job application scanning, this system could expose your company to discrimination charges. The potential problem: Your choice of scanning "keywords" could indirectly reject minorities, women or other members of protected classes.
Gender discrimination could also be a problem. Software can be programmed to reject résumés with gaps in an applicant's employment history, which could discriminate against women who left the work force to raise children.
Advice: Maintain bias-free hiring via these three steps:
- Limit search terms to words that describe essential skills or duties. These terms should be the same ones used in your written job descriptions. Don't include specific universities or ZIP codes.
- Accept applications through all delivery methods, in person, by fax, by mail or electronically. Don't just limit it to e-mail or the Web. Accepting only electronic applications and résumés can discriminate against people who don't have computer access, which may relate to race.
- Monitor the software's use. Make sure those who have access and programming control are aware of the legal risks.
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