There are always certain concerns that stay present in the back of employers' minds. Sometimes these nagging thoughts have to do with the economy or the company's revenue. However, lately there's another problem that many business owners around the U.S. are contemplating: discrimination lawsuits.
"Almost 60% of companies expect more discrimination claims."
More employers concerned about criminal record inquiries
According to Littler Mendelson's Executive Employer Survey Report, an increasing number of employers are bracing themselves for future discrimination claims from job applicants. The results, derived from the responses of more than 500 human resource and c-suite professionals, showed that 57 percent of employers expect to deal with more workplace discrimination claims in the next year.
Two factors that contribute to this apprehension include the use of criminal history checks and credit history reports during the hiring process. This comes as no surprise, as the background screening process includes a number of complicated rules and regulations dictated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Further confusing the process is the enactment of new "Fair Chance" laws in certain jurisdiction. These regulations, also known as "ban-the-box" laws, prohibit the use of criminal history questions on initial job applications.
Because of all these nuances involved in the background check process, it seems as though many employers are anticipating their job candidates and current employees to file discrimination claims. However, companies that partner with a reliable consumer reporting agency can run the necessary screening within federal and legal guidelines, thereby reducing their risk of being blindsided by an expensive lawsuit.
Tips for conducting background checks
Partnering with a CRA like Global HR Research often helps employers navigate the intricacies of background screening. However, there are a number of other ways that companies can ensure they are taking the proper steps when screening candidates.
Apply unilateral standards
One of the best ways to ensure candidates have no grounds for discrimination claims is to create, document and enforce strict hiring processes. The EEOC explained that when conducting background checks, companies must apply the same standards to each applicant. So if HR dismisses a candidate because he or she has a certain criminal history, they should stay consistent when considering all other job seekers with the same track record. Otherwise, a candidate could claim a non-relevant characteristic, such as age, race or religion, was the true basis of the decision.
Keep candidates informed
Communication is a key factor in a successful hiring process, and employers should maintain best communication practices when screening potential workers. Companies are required to inform candidates about the background checks being conducted, and individuals must give written permission before the process is started.
Once the background check is completed, employers must inform candidates if they are rejected based on information in the report. According to the EEOC, job applicants must be given 60 days to dispute any inaccuracies in the report. Businesses should be sure to follow these rules and keep open lines of communication with candidates, otherwise they may be setting themselves up for a discrimination lawsuit.
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