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Recruiting and hiring workers must be a fair process

Some company officials talk about the importance of diversity in the workplace, but they aren’t following through with their recruiting or hiring practices.

Employers believe that posting positions internally and externally increases the diversity of the group of applicants. But if the employer has an internal employee in mind for the position and hires that person after posting the job externally, the decision may result in a lawsuit. If the employee handbook says all positions will be posted internally and externally, however, the employer must follow that policy or face being accused of discrimination. HR policies should allow exceptions.

Age discrimination

Some employers discriminate against people based on their age. A recruiter who recommends qualified candidates regardless of their age was surprised when a company wasn’t interested in an older candidate. When asked why, the company official said the company wanted to hire someone who would stay a while. What the company didn’t realize was that a younger worker may not give the job the longevity it wanted. Younger employees are moving on to jobs at other companies more frequently than earlier generations of workers.

Keeping track

Companies that do work with federal contracting businesses and have more than 50 employees must have their hiring records tracked and reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission annually. Those companies are required to hire a certain number of women and minorities. If a company has 10 applicants for a posted position and it hires a white candidate, it must be prepared to explain why it didn’t hire one of the minority applicants.

Good isn’t always best

An applicant with good qualifications isn’t necessarily the most well-suited candidate for the job. Other factors may make an applicant a better hire, including being a good fit with the culture of the company.

Use of AI prompts concerns

The increasingly common use of AI (artificial intelligence) to make decisions on recruiting, hiring and promotions is causing concern. The Society of Human Resources and Management (SHRM) warns that some law firms are taking steps to prepare for lawsuits that may result from the use of AI.

Many companies already use AI to select applicants and more are expected to begin using AI to evaluate job performance.

A couple of law firms have established groups of AI experts to advise clients on the adoption and use of AI systems, including the legal risks, best practices and fairness.

As concern about the use of AI grows, legislation is being proposed to protect job applicants, employees and consumers.

Illinois has passed the first law of its kind in the U.S., the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act, which will take effect Jan. 1. Under the law, employers will be required to notify applicants that their interview videos will be evaluated by algorithms and explain how the algorithms work. The applicants must agree to have the videos analyzed by AI.

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y., have proposed the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019, which would direct the Federal Trade Commission to set rules for the evaluation of automated systems.  The proposed law would require companies to assess their existing and new “high-risk automated decision systems” to determine whether they are discriminatory and pose a risk to consumers’ privacy or security.  

Proceed with caution

HR must follow fair due process and be able to defend the company’s recruiting and hiring decisions. My advice is to be careful and to be true to your words.

Nov. 20 workshop

The Nov. 20 workshop will feature a discussion about addiction recovery by Judeline Galek, owner of Passaje, a Family Recovery Life Coaching business. The workshop will focus on people who are struggling to support someone they love through recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and are interested in learning how to approach recovery as a team.

The monthly workshops are free of charge and start at noon at the office of Dennis A. McCurdy, CIC, CFP, of McCurdy Group, 212 Main St., Sturbridge. Dennis and I sponsor the workshops.

Register for the workshops at Eventbrite or by emailing me or Dennis.

Don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions.



Melody L. Beach Consulting Group
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