The Critical Path in Recruiting and Hiring Employees: Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices – by Charles Parnell

As employers recruit and hire applicants for jobs, it’s critical that this process is executed in a lawful manner. Under the laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity), sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age (40 and older) and disability. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. These laws specifically are: Title V11 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Equal Pay Act of 1963, The Age Discrimination Act of 1967, The Pregnancy Act of 1978, The Civil Rights Act of 1991 and The Americans with Disability Act of 1990. In the aggregate, these laws forbid discrimination in every aspect of employment.

Because employers are totally engaged in the hiring process to make every hire count, it is imperative that they comply with the laws in the organization’s policies and practices (in fact, we all know that the absence of a law or compliance to a law is no excuse, either). The attainment of their strategic goals is directly dependent upon the hiring and retaining persons with the requisite skills and values. If these people are hired illegally because of policies or practices, state charges, federal charges and lawsuits will emerge. They can eliminate profits and damage the organization’s reputation in the marketplace.

Here are few policy /practices considerations and activities you should not engage in because they focus on discrimination because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin and disability:

  • Job Advertisements – show a preference for or discourage someone from applying for a job
  • Recruitment – new employees in a way that discriminates against them
  • Job Referrals – take a negative view or assessment against applicant referrals
  • Job Assignments & Promotions – make decisions that do not objectively assess the applicant’s performance
  • Pay and Benefits – this includes the total compensation package – wages and benefits
  • Corrective Action (discipline) & Discharge – must be factually based on cause
  • Reasonable Accommodation & Disability – must focus on the ability to perform the essential functions of the job – with or without a reasonable accommodation
  • Terms & Conditions of Employment – all must apply based upon on merit

As you recruit and hire applicants for jobs based upon your labor demands, you must comply with the law in your policies and practices, and those from government entities. During these past weeks, we have focused on recruiting and hiring activities – along with some assessment tools and strategies for effective hiring. We are now focusing on the critical need to hire legally.


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