As employers struggle to find the right candidate in today’s tight labor market (current unemployment rate is below 5%), staying compliant throughout the recruiting process can take a backseat to simply getting the job filled. But before you cut corners consider this: the number of regulations to follow to ensure compliance have forced employers to get more disciplined in their recruiting practices.
Between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Department of Labor (DOL) and other governing bodies, employers have a lot on their plate. And for many small and medium-sized employers, where resources are scarce and HR is responsible for all aspects of people management, managing recruiting compliance – much less understanding it – is a tremendous challenge.
To give you a greater understanding of what laws could impact your organization, here’s an overview of two critical compliance regulations that HR must maintain throughout the recruiting process.
The EEOC is the governing body responsible for enforcing federal employment discrimination laws which prohibit “discrimination against a job applicant or an employee due to that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.”
Privately-owned companies, state agencies and labor unions with 15 or more employees who have worked in that capacity for a minimum of 20 calendar weeks are required to comply with EEOC regulations. In 2016, the EEOC resolved 97,443 charges and secured more than $482 million in monetary damages against offending employers.
The OFCCP works to ensure that Federal contractors use non-discriminatory hiring practices so all Americans have equal access to Federal jobs. All Federal contractors who conduct business with the Government, in excess of $10,000, fall under this jurisdiction and cannot discriminate against employees based on their race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The law also mandates contractors to make efforts to employ qualified individuals with disabilities, Vietnam-era veterans and other covered veterans.
To ensure compliance, the OFCCP conducts yearly audits which scrutinize the hiring methods and procedures of federal contractors. Here’s what auditors are keeping a close eye on:
- Have nondiscriminatory hiring and employment practices
- Take affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunity to all applicants, including veterans and disabled workers
- Maintain proper employment decision guidelines
Best Practices to Prevent EEOC Violations
Discrimination throughout the recruiting process is often the result of a lack of proper training or lax policies. As the number of violations and discrimination suits continue to rise, employers must take a proactive approach to educating staff on proper interview procedures. Plus, employers must self-examine job descriptions and requirements to eliminate any potential biases.
Use this list of best practices with your staff to help prevent compliance missteps:
- Ensure you have standardized recruiting and hiring procedures that all employees involved in the process understand and maintain. Are policies available for employees to review in your company handbook?
- Evaluate your recruiting methods. Which recruiting resources do you utilize? Is your focus too narrow, creating gender or ethnic bias?
- Are your recruiters and hiring managers educated on discrimination laws? Are they familiar with interview questions that could pose risk? Train hiring managers and recruiters on conducting consistent interviews that feature neutral, objective criteria, eliminating any subjective biases or stereotypes.
Now that you’re more familiar with best practices to stay compliant, take our benchmarking quiz to see how your organization stacks up.