Federal labor laws prohibit employers from using discriminatory practices while screening and interviewing job candidates. For example, an ad to recruit employees may not use language that could discourage individuals from one gender or certain races from applying.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the applicant screening process may only include job-skills tests both necessary and related to the particular position. A test cannot contain questions that could reveal an applicant’s racial background. If an employer requests a potential candidate to provide a work sample, the submission cannot serve to identify race or gender.
Disclosure of voluntary information may lead to bias in hiring
Some companies’ job applications may include questions asking applicants to disclose their gender and racial background. Although providing an answer remains “voluntary,” the information could influence an employer’s hiring decision. A qualified candidate who did not receive a job offer under these circumstances may have grounds to file a legal action.
Indiana utility company engaged in discriminatory hiring practices
An employment discrimination claim filed by more than 1,500 female and African-American job candidates alleged that an Indiana utility company turned them down for a job due to their race or gender. As reported by The Northwest Indiana Times, a federal investigation into the company’s recruitment practices uncovered a pattern of hiring bias.
Because the company required job applicants to perform a manpower test and appeared to not hire qualified candidates based on their gender or race, the investigation found its hiring practices discriminatory. As a result, the applicants may file to receive back-pay. The company must also make it a priority to hire more qualified female and African-American employees.