Hiring is one of the most difficult and legally dangerous tasks for supervisors. Just a few ill-timed words in a want ad or interview can trigger a legal complaint. Here are the key liability hot spots to watch out for in the hiring process:
A help-wanted ad that directly or indirectly states a preference for applicants based on gender, age or other protected characteristic is generally unlawful.
If you participate in drafting employment ads, list only the necessary job-related skills and qualifications—for example, “must be able to lift 50 lbs.”—rather than assumptions about who can perform the functions of the position—such as “male furniture-mover wanted.”
There are a few exceptions to this general rule, such as when a “protected” characteristic is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) for the job (e.g., requesting a female to work in a women’s locker room).
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