Worried that poor grades and lax attendance might spell an employment risk, more employers are requesting applicants' school transcripts.
Our advice: Tread with care. Re-viewing school records isn't illegal, but if it results in turning away more minorities, women or disabled people, you could be inviting a discrimination lawsuit.
Here are the ground rules: If your company asks for school records as part of the application process, it must:
- Retain recordkeeping systems to prevent hiring managers from seeing irrelevant data that could expose your company to liability, such as records on an applicant's health problems or disability.
- Avoid setting rigid attendance re-quirements. Candidates may have perfectly good reasons for school absences.
- Check state laws on using disciplinary records.
- Base hiring decisions on job-related qualifications.
Good resource: The Business Co-alition for Education Reform offers a free online booklet, Hiring Smart: An Employer's Guide to Using School Records, at www.bcer.org/macc/hiring_ smart.cfm.