Since the Civil Rights Movement, employers have been required to follow anti-discrimination laws to protect certain groups from being unfairly denied opportunities. Over the years, these laws have been refined, and different groups have been added. Despite their best intentions, some employers still practice forms of discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional. Protecting your business from discrimination lawsuits can be costly and can have other consequences, such as a bad reputation with potential employees. If you own a business, here is how you can ensure that you comply with anti-discrimination legislation.
Start with recruiting
By having recruitment practices in place that aim to promote diversity and talent, you will be more likely to attract a wide range of applicants from which to choose. In an article in the Houston Chronicle, author Nicole Long advises, “Evaluating candidates based on their ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position ensures that hiring is completed in a legal manner. For instance, basing hiring decisions on specific educational requirements or test results stemming from a logic or analytical examination represent nondiscriminatory methods employed during the hiring process.” By basing hiring decisions on tangible criteria, you can help ensure that your business will not be accused of discriminatory practices. Just be sure that if your criteria can be extended, don’t inadvertently exclude groups of people.
Grow your policy with your business
Many federal policies, such as the Family Medical Leave Act, only apply to businesses that employ a certain amount of people. If you start small, you may not need to worry about these policies. However, once your company exceeds a certain number of employees, there may be a need to reevaluate your employee manual. According to an article on Entrepreneur.com titled, “Discrimination Policy,” there are steps you can take to refine your policies with company growth. “As your company grows, you’ll hire new employees and new supervisors, and that means you’ll need to commit to writing exactly how employees ought to be treated and the behaviors your company will not tolerate.” If your company is growing, seeking the assistance of a human resources or legal consultant may be a good way to ensure that you remain compliant with anti-discrimination laws. The money you spend on the consultant could potentially save you from a costlier situation down the road.
Many employers don’t intentionally discriminate, but by not being fully aware of policies and practices, you could be putting your business at risk. By keeping your hiring procedures and employee policies up to date, you can protect yourself.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.