Age Discrimination in the Hiring Process

It’s not easy being an employer in the 21st century. Numerous laws and regulations must be observed when creating a job advertisement, deciding where to post it and choosing which applicants to interview. If various skills tests are to be administered, they must bear a valid connection to the job duties of the position.

Medical tests, usually in the form of drug screens, may be required. Polygraphs are are sometimes requested, depending on the nature of the position being filled. Comprehensive background checks are frequently run so the employer can create and maintain a safe and reliable work force.

Yet as hard as it easy to competently and legally hire employees, most of those looking for a new job may rightfully believe that the greatest challenges and hurdles lie before them. Hard economic times make the job application process incredibly competitive.

Although both employers and applicants would like to speed up the hiring process at times, each of the steps referenced below must still be handled in a highly responsible manner.

Lawful Job Advertising & Screening

Employers must be sure to give a fair cross-section of job applicants a chance to apply for their new positions. No specific group of applicants, except perhaps those with certain criminal backgrounds, should be excluded from the process. Prospective employees of every race/ethnic group, sex, national origin or age must be given equal consideration. The same is true for the disabled and all others specifically named and protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Interviewing and Running Background Checks

Certain basic questions cannot be asked during job interviews. They generally include inquiries into an applicant’s race, age, marital status, religious beliefs or other topics that bear little or no relevance to the required job skills. Interviewers must also avoid asking if an applicant has small children. The most legitimate questions will always revolve around current work skills, experience and the ability to interact well with others.

Background checks must be clearly explained to applicants early in the hiring process. Prospective employees should be told that they may have to give their written approval so their previous employers can be contacted about their past job performance. Most applicants already know that they may have to let their prospective employer run a criminal background check on them and review their credit report. Employers must make sure they follow all of the U. S. Department of Labor’s guidelines if they wish to require drug screening tests and polygraphs.

Job applicants should remember that they have legal rights against discrimination, just like those already employed. The only time an employer may discriminate, to any extent, is if the company is having to make an employment decision based on what’s legally referred to as a “bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).” This means that the decision involves a highly specific job skill or trait that only certain applicants or employees are able to provide.

Once You’ve Been Hired By An Employer

Although today’s employers usually insist that applicants complete nearly every bit of legal paperwork that may be necessary before they’re even selected, important steps still remain. Every new employee should be offered some form of orientation, even if it’s just a one-on-one session with the hiring officer. Although a company may have a comprehensive employee handbook, the newly hired need to feel free to ask questions about the employer’s benefits package and basic expectations of all of their employees.

Although you may not want to appear difficult as a new hire, remember that you don’t always have to sign any forms asking you to compromise certain rights, such as those provided by The age discrimination act 1967. Furthermore, decide ahead of time if you’re willing to sign an employer’s form that requires you to first take all future workplace disagreements before an arbitration board, prior to pursingyour legal remedies elsewhere.

Getting Legal Help

If you’re given a little time to accept or reject a major job offer, you might want to briefly confer with an employment law attorney to be sure you’re accepting a job that’s not only well suited to your talents but one that offers you safe options should future layoffs or corporate restructuring jeopardize the position.

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