Stemming employment litigation in a few steps

Discrimination in hiring cases can be avoided through online application processes and blind screening

Litigation is expensive, no matter how large the business involved, and litigation that derives from hiring lawsuits is no exception. While companies mostly desire to avoid the courtroom so as to conserve costs and focus more on products and services, in the case of hiring discrimination, they often cannot avoid it. And discrimination cases are often more in the public eye than other legal agendas. A recent business management blog described the ways in which hiring lawsuits and litigation costs can be mitigated by instituting blind screening and online applications at the beginning of the hiring process.

If companies treat online applications as the primary method through which they accrue applicants and filter their resumes, then only those who obtain interviews can have a basis for discrimination. The provisos of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in the U.S. prevent protected characteristics from being asked of employees including race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, and other items. "Blind" hiring or screening via an online application process eliminates one step of possible interaction with potential candidates that would be fodder for a discrimination suit since applicants interact only with the company's application interface until sought for an interview.

The blog suggests the following actions to implement in the hiring process to ensure blind-hiring and making the most of the online application system:

"Consider accepting applications almost exclusively online." That way, applicants who come in for interviews are not considered on different playing fields for the job depending on the interaction they have had with employers.

"Consider screening applications with software that looks for pertinent experience, etc." Software applications exist that include algorithms to scan for relevant points of interest to employers such as education and previous experience.

"Instruct applicants to remove birth dates and graduation dates from résumés." If the applicants include personal information at the initial application, it will be more difficult to establish blind-hiring, but having that step at the outset could significantly impact the amount of personal information the employer has access to during the process.

Some simple steps could prevent much time and money from being spent on discrimination cases that dash company reputation and become expensive.

 

Further reading:

Compliance: Religious discrimination — It’s on the EEOC’s radar

Cases test whether law firm partners are employees for human rights purposes 

Complaints seek maternity coverage for women on parents’ health insurance

Contributing Author

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to InsideCounsel.com, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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