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What pre-employment requirements can be discriminatory?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Discrimination, Employment Law |

Workplace discrimination can have a significant impact on employees, more so on candidates who are still undergoing the recruitment process. The law protects applicants from discriminatory hiring practices. However, these incidents can be subtle, initially appearing as standard procedure, but can adversely affect unsuspecting candidates.

Both applicants and employers should know what pre-employment processes and requirements comply with non-discriminatory policies. The following can be discriminatory based on the circumstances:

  • Using a line of questioning during interviews implying stereotypes or expectations based on race, religion, sexual orientation and other similar qualities
  • Requiring candidates to take irrelevant tests
  • Imposing background checks during the pre-offer stage
  • Asking the candidate for photos or affiliations that could reveal information about their race, religion, sexual orientation and other similar qualities
  • Screening applicants using characteristics unrelated to the job position

Employers should only focus on learning about the candidate’s competencies throughout the hiring process based on the job description. Timing is also a crucial factor for pre-employment requirements. It is lawful for employers to order background checks and ask for the candidate’s photo only after offering them the job.

Additionally, employers should consider making the hiring process as inclusive as possible. If their tests seem to exclude specific groups based on age, race or disability, they can be discriminatory.

Knowing when a requirement is unlawful

If you are a candidate, you should know whether you are becoming subject to discriminatory hiring practices. These incidents can go unnoticed, forcing candidates to struggle despite meeting all requirements for the job. Employers should also clarify their reasons for rejecting an applicant.

Their basis should be appropriate, citing qualifications relevant to the job. Ultimately, employers and candidates can benefit from proactively addressing discriminatory hiring practices. This collaboration can help candidates exercise their rights and employers comply with federal and state employment laws.