Thursday, June 23, 2011

EEOC holds public meeting on 21st century hiring discrimination … and misses the biggest issue

There is perhaps no issue more important to the topic of hiring in the 21st century than social media. Yet, yesterday the EEOC held a public meeting entitled, “Disparate Treatment in 21st Century Hiring Decisions,” and completely ignored this key issue.

In fact, it’s hard to find much of anything new or cutting edge presented by the EEOC at the meeting. Instead, the meeting provided a rehash of longstanding principles against hiring discrimination. Nevertheless, the advice provided by management-side attorney Grace Speights to employers to help avoid hiring discrimination is worth repeating and taking to heart:

  1. Develop strong EEO policies, train managers on the policies and the law, and hold managers responsible for failing to follow the policies.
  2. Increase HR’s participation and oversight in the hiring and promotion processes as a form of checks and balances to monitor compliance with company policies and legal requirements.
  3. Implement diversity training for employees.
  4. Identify and remove perceived barriers to hiring and promotion, such as by advertising open positions in sources that reach a more diverse applicant pool.
  5. Conduct periodic self-analyses to determine whether current employment practices are tied to job requirements, job performance, and business necessity.
  6. Foster training and mentoring programs that provide all workers the opportunity, experience, and information necessary to qualify for promotions.

If you want to learn more about the role of social media in the vetting and hiring of employees, and the impact the discrimination laws have on these practices, pick up a copy of HR and Social Media: Practical and Legal Guidance, available from Thompson Publishing in the coming weeks. And, if you find yourself at SHRM 2011 in Las Vegas next week, stop by Thompson's Booth (#1468) for more information.

Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or