The Legalities of the Hiring Process

career advice interview prep Dec 03, 2019

Prior to launching my own practice as a career strategist for high-achieving successful professional women ​at midlife, I spent 11 years practicing as a labor and employment lawyer and as a litigator, handling employment discrimination cases. My experience taught me that even though employers and applicants generally have a similar goal in mind when it comes to the hiring process: find the best fit for the job, there are sometimes barriers that hinder this process.

Those barriers and pitfalls can often be found in employment applications and the types of questions asked of a potential job seekers during the interview process. Certain questions can violate the law or can lead to information that violates the law. 

If you're in the process of submitting applications in anticipation of landing a new position in the new year, you'll want to pay attention to the following landmines. 

Here's an example around dates. I always recommend that my clients remove their graduation dates from their resume and LinkedIn profiles because it can help the employer determine your age, and potentially subject the employer to an age discrimination lawsuit. Unfortunately, most online applications will ask for this information, when an employer cannot. I recommend you simply add in a date like 01/01/01 or 1010 to complete the field and then to let the employer know you'd rather not or uncomfortable answering that question.

There's also the "ban the box" laws, which essentially prohibits an employer from requesting an applicant's criminal history on an employment application. Employers also cannot make any inquiries into such things until after the interview process.

What's not on the application can also be just as problematic. For example, if you have not authorized your potential employer to run a background check (as indicated by your signature, checking a box, or a simple statement that says applicants are subject to a background check), according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it can be deemed illegal.

In addition, there are some states that have stricter guidelines for these checks and if an employer isn't in compliance with both state and federal regulations they can be subject to a lawsuit.

If a background check is conduct and you are not hired, you're entitled to a copy of the report. This gives you an opportunity to dispute and clear up anything that was cited as an obstacle to your employment.

For more information on appropriate and inappropriate Interview questions, see the chart below:

While it's critical for employers to be aware of the legalities surrounding the hiring process to protect themselves and avoid lawsuits; as an applicant, it's equally important that you know and protect your rights too.

Need additional support to successfully prepare for your interview(s) and land the job?This is one of the many ways I support my clients that work with me. Schedule a free consultation and let's discuss how to best prepare you.

Live, laugh and unapologetically shine,



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