This is how you can crush employment in your business
Any business that’s hiring or promoting people should be congratulated on its success. We know doing business during a pandemic might be challenging, especially with this unpredictable economy. Unfortunately, if not handled properly, this situation is also an opportunity for you to be sued.
Employment discrimination based on many characteristics is illegal under federal and state law. It may also violate local ordinances. You want to find the right candidates and avoid getting sued. You can take steps to protect yourself and limit the risk an unsuccessful candidate will claim you illegally denied them a job opportunity.
Your hiring process must focus on getting the right candidate for the job. If part of the process means screening out people because of their age, sex, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, or criminal record, you’re breaking the law. One way to do that is through interview questions.
Most employers want to obey the law. But the wrong off-hand, “chit chat,” “break the ice,” “conversation starter” remarks and questions can make it appear you’re breaking the law by trying to hire only those who fit a certain profile.
California is a “ban the box” state whose laws are meant to make it easier for those with criminal records to find work. There are limits on employers with more than five employees can ask about, including:
Inquiries about conviction history on job applications, or asking about or considering a conviction history before you’ve made a conditional offer
You also can’t ask job applicants for salary history information or rely on it when deciding to hire or how much to pay someone. If the applicant voluntarily discloses his or her past salary, it can be a reason to set the salary if that information is not the only factor in justifying a difference in pay with others.
You may be curious about where a candidate was born, where they’re from, about their accent, or if you think they’re an immigrant, how long they’ve lived in the US. Curiosity killed the cat and it may give birth to a lawsuit. These kinds of questions could lead an unsuccessful applicant to believe their national origin played a role in your hiring or promoting someone else. You can ask the applicant if they have a legal right to work in the US as long as all job seekers get the same question.
Questions whose answers could indicate a person’s age shouldn’t be asked. This includes asking about dates when someone graduated high school or college. You can ask about a person’s age if there’s a reason for a minimum age requirement, like serving alcohol.
Avoid using help-wanted ads seeking “recent college graduates” for the same reason. You’re also limiting your applicant pool for no good reason. If you use this language because it’s a low-level, low-paying job, find a way to say that in your ad. Let job candidates decide if they want to apply or not. You may find a highly qualified career-changer willing to start over.
Marital Status and Pregnancy
What relevance would questions about parenthood or marital status have concerning a job? Probably none, so don’t ask them. Questions about whether the person is married, pregnant, or has plans to be pregnant send a message to unsuccessful candidates: sue me.
Take the Next Step: Contact Tony Liu
You may view attorneys as those who represent clients during litigation. Though I do that, one of the most valuable services I provide my clients is giving them information and advice that will help them find the right candidates and avoid getting sued. If that’s the kind of help you want, contact me.
Call us now for a Strategy Session. We can talk about how we can help you to run your business without worrying about the underlying legal consequences. We can be reached at (714) 415-2007 or reserve your spot by clicking the link: