Recruiting & Selection Tips SBOS Can Put To The Test – Part 2
EEOC/ADA Do’s & Don’ts
By Bill Willard, Contributing Author
The Issue: Every question you ask in selection interviews is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.
What I’ve Learned: Thanks to Uncle Sam, “Freestyle Entrepreneur” is sometimes just an expression! Unfair hiring practices vary from state to state, so you need to bone up on the laws in your state as well as the federal regs reviewed on here this week.
When interviewing sales rep candidates or other job applicants, avoid questions concerning:
- Race, color or creed.
- Citizenship or birthplace.
- Religion, faith, denomination or affiliation.
- Marital or family status, including number of children or dependents.
- Age except regarding minimum age requirements.
- Dates of attendance at educational institutions. These can indicate age. You may, however, ask about the extent of a candidate’s education, names or schools attended, and degrees, diplomas or certificates earned.
Remember, you have the right to-and certainly should-check a candidate’s credentials and at least three personal references. If specific education is required for the position you’re trying to fill, you may also request school transcripts or courses taken, and grades. Misrepresentations by candidates, whether discovered before or after hiring, are grounds for rejection or dismissal.
The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified job applicants because of an individual’s disability. Pre-employment inquiries cannot be made regarding the nature or extent of an applicant’s disability.
What you must not ask sales rep candidates or other job applicants:
- Do not ask the candidate about any visible physical characteristics, such as scars, burns, missing limbs.
- Do not ask if the candidate is in good health.
- Do not ask if the candidate has ever had an emotional illness or has consulted a psychologist or psychiatrist.
- If a candidate volunteers information about a medical condition, such as cancer, do not inquire about the nature or extent of the condition or whether it is in remission. Instead, explain the Company’s commitment to equal employment opportunity.
- If a candidate is wearing braces or a prosthesis, do not ask why or how he or she came to require them.
- Do not make notes during any physical or mental characteristics of the candidate.
- Do not ask if the candidate has ever had a drug problem.
- Do not ask if the applicant has ever had a drinking problem.
What you may ask sale rep candidates or other job applicants:
- Pre-employment inquiries may be made about an individual’s ability to perform job-related functions. You may ask questions…
- About any information on the Personal History form or a job application for further review.
- About a candidate’s prior job duties.
- About the candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks, if these are essential functions of the job. Examples: You may ask:“Do you have a driver’s license?” if driving is as an essential job function.“Can you read a video display terminal?” if that is an essential job function.
- After the candidate has inquired about obtaining a reasonable accommodation for a disability, it is permissible to ask the candidate what he or she will require to perform the position, and record what the individual feels is a reasonable accommodation.
For some individuals with disabilities, selection interviews (even with a well-trained interviewer) will not be accurate assessment tools. For example:
- Body language is often an important feature in a job interview. Firm handshakes, eye contact and posture can indicate to an interviewer such traits as assertiveness, confidence and dependability. However, body language can be an inaccurate measure for many people with disabilities.
- Communication skills, such as quick and clear responses to questions, often indicate to an interviewer such traits as intelligence, ability and confidence. However, communication skills can be an inaccurate measure for many people with mental or emotional impairments.
- Social skills often indicate to an interviewer that a candidate has a desire and a willingness, as well as the ability to do the job. However, social skills can be an inaccurate measure for many people with mental or emotional impairments
Review assumptions about disabilities and other impairments as carefully as you review assumptions about race, culture and gender. Though all this may seem an impossible imposition on the selection process, meeting these requirements is easier than it may appear.
Try This: Review the Job Description with each of your candidates (or other applicants). Ask the person if with reasonable accommodations, he or she would be capable of performing the duties listed in the Job Description.
Employers may be required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled em-ployees. The evaluation of a disability, as it relates to essential aspects of the job, is some-times necessary. Thus, a disability is in a different class from race, gender or religion, which must not be discussed in selection interviews.
Candidates with disabilities should be allowed to become familiar with the specifics of the career in order to offer informed advice. While their advice is important, their opinions are not final. Employers have a right to seek advice from outside rehabilitation counselors, job engineers, some physicians and other professionals. Do not assume that everyone with a disability will have a solution for every accommodation challenge.
Conditional Offers of Employment
After an employer has decided to offer a position to an applicant, and before the individual begins work, the employer may make inquiries and require medical examinations related to the individual’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job category.
The employment offer may be conditioned upon the results of these inquiries or the medical examination.
- If the medical information establishes that a candidate cannot perform essential job functions, even with reasonable accommodation, then the conditional offer of employment may be withdrawn.
- If an employer withdraws a conditional offer of employment as a result of medical information obtained, the employer must be prepared to defend that decision.
Confidentiality of Information
Any medical information obtained by the employer must be maintained in confidential medical files, separate from general personnel records. Only people with a need-to-know should be made aware of this information. Managers may need to be informed of any necessary medical restrictions or the need for possible emergency treatment.
Anyone who interviews job applicants must be familiar with EEOC and ADA regulations and requirements. Interviewers trained to take full advantage of the flexibility and range of these laws will be in the best position to treat all qualified candidates and other applicants equally and fairly.
What Do You Think? Your comments are welcome. Have you registered?
Bill Willard has over 30-years experience providing high-impact written communications to small-business owners and independent professionals. Through interactive, Web-based “Do-While-Learning™” programs, e-Newsletters and straight-talking articles, Bill helps clients get the job done: profitably improving performance, helping grow their businesses, skipping expensive mistakes, making the journey to success faster, smoother, easier. And fun! A Phi Beta Kappa and former managing editor, he and his wife, Sue, live in Clearwater FL.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit his Website: http://www.writergazette.com/WillardAssociates.shtml
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