Posts Tagged ‘EEOC Compliance’

It’s all About Prevention: EEOC & OFCCP Compliance

May 23rd, 2014

Human resources professionals need to keep track of many moving parts in the course of their job every day, from understanding what kind of talent is currently available to new developments in their industry. One crucial area where it is vital to stay on top of things is maintaining compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance.

Often it is too late for companies to comply with the EEOC or OFCCP once they are being audited, which underscores the importance of preparing for compliance ahead of time just as you would prepare your financials in the general accounting department.

Not only do you need to prepare to avoid problems with regulators, you have to address equal employment issues from a public relations standpoint.

For example, Google’s annual shareholders meeting was disrupted in May by angry demonstrators led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, protesting the low number of blacks, Latinos and members of other minority groups hired by the search engine giant. In response to the criticism, Google announced that it would make transparent the number of minority employees it has hired, according to a recent report in the San Jose Mercury News.

Any private employer with 15 or more employees working 20 or more weeks each year is subject to federal law regarding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Complying with these requirements includes treating everyone fairly no matter what their religion, sex, race, national origin or disability, noted a recent article in the Houston Chronicle. The best approach is to establish a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment. This means disciplining employees who fail to meet your anti-discrimination policies so you can prevent violations from occurring.

Part of planning ahead includes setting up a records retention program. You must maintain records (payroll, benefits plans and any records of your merit system) for a year after terminating an employee in order to remain in compliance with the equal employment regulations. Details about your pay rates must be stored for two years.

It’s also a good idea to verify that your applicant tracking system is always updated to the latest version. For example, the application tracking system from Newton has an enhancement to take into account all applicable changes to Section 503 and VEVRAA regulations. It improves the voluntary self-identification capability to accommodate the rights of war veterans, for example, and explains the application process better to your job applicants.

Prudent hiring managers will want to make every effort to plan ahead to avoid running into any pitfalls in complying with EEOC and OFCCP requirements as they recruit and take on new employees. This is essential both in terms of avoiding discrimination lawsuits and damaging your reputation in the marketplace.

Do: Use Social Media for Recruiting. Don’t: Violate EEOC Compliance.

April 25th, 2014

Social Media RecruitingHiring managers are increasingly turning to social media to help with the research and recruitment process. Services like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter make it easy for people to put their best foot forward before even having submitted a resume or a cover letter, as recruiters scour social networks. In fact, a 2013 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that 77 percent of SHRM members use social media to recruit candidates, which is up from 56 percent in 2011.

However, if you rely too much on social media to find new talent, you may be exposing your company to legal risks and scrutiny from the EEOC, according to a recent report by Michael Bologna at Bloomberg BNA.

Bologna notes that employers who use social media channels may be accessing protected class information that they could use to inappropriately disqualify candidates. This could wind up subjecting them to civil rights complaints under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

What’s more, by focusing on social media, hiring managers may create barriers to the recruitment process, with the idea being that a lack of access to social media, computers and the Internet could make it harder for people to compete for jobs.

The EEOC is not issuing guidance on social media usage in recruitment. However, to offset potential risks, a good approach for companies is to erect a firewall between hiring managers and recruiters and to have a designated person in HR who is trained in the legal ramifications of using information about candidates that has been obtained via social networks. Hiring managers themselves should not use social media for screening, noted Bologna.

In terms of hiring, social media really shines when companies use it to define and display their corporate culture, notes a recent report at the Undercover Recruiter. Your employees can refer to their own networks as they reach out to interested candidates, for example, and you will gain greater access to both passive and active job seekers.

It’s important to not rely entirely on social media to get out the word, however tempting and cost-effective it might seem. Companies shouldn’t put their vacancy ads on Twitter alone, for example, as they are only limiting their exposure.

When you do use social media, remember that you should only focus on publicly available information and not demand access to applicants’ social media account passwords to learn more about them. Such a request is a violation of the law in 12 states and may run afoul of the Stored Communications Act nationwide.

It’s clear that new software and technology, such as those used to underpin social media, can be quite disruptive to the way we do business. While social media is a great way for companies to discover promising new candidates to hire and can help extend their brand among networks of friends, it’s a good idea to be cautious and only use information that you are sure you are legally allowed to use.

Filling Positions Diversely Will Benefit Your Company

August 23rd, 2013

diverse hiringDiversity helps companies achieve business goals and, in an inclusive environment, 20% more employees state that they will stay at their organization, according to Corporate Executive Board (CEB) research. These findings and others were reported by Jean Martin in a recent “Harvard Business Review” article.

Martin observes that diversity initiatives such as mentoring, diversity councils and affinity groups are supported by management even during tough economic times. But is this investment paying off?

There are few firms with particularly diverse and inclusive populations. CEB research identifies bias, whether unconscious or conscious, as one of the key problems in moving qualified diverse candidates into leadership roles.

Innovative Processes to Counter Bias

Martin cites two examples of companies that utilize “objective-fit analysis” tools. These organizations succeeded in modifying their promotion processes to build diverse candidate slates and neutralize biases.

At Charlotte’s Duke Energy, managers prepare a candidate list for a specific position. At the same time, HR prepares its own slate by querying their data against a detailed position profile. Both lists are used to create the candidate pool. The combined list of qualified candidates may include some not known by the hiring manager.

CEMEX, a cement manufacturer headquartered in Mexico with 42,883 employees worldwide, developed a data tool to analyze employee profiles. Four factors in the profile – experience, knowledge, potential and performance, and personal – are created through lengthy testing and assessment processes. These leader profiles are matched against detailed position profiles to create a candidate slate.

EEOC and OFCCP Compliance Software

Duke Energy and CEMEX’s solutions are good innovations, but the newest technology in compliance should also be considered.  EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) compliance software can automate and streamline the hiring process, with functions such as recording voluntary EEO information (race, gender, ethnicity) as well as capturing a wealth of information needed during compliance audits, like applicant logs and flow data.

Take Advantage of Compliance Tech to Assess Candidate Diversity

When you’re ready to create your short list of candidates for interviews, a report from your compliance software will show qualified candidates (measured against minimum job requirements) with their EEO characteristics. If the candidate pool shows few or no benchmarks of diversity, you’ll know in advance that more work is necessary before the interviews start; for example, explore diversity job boards.

EEOC Compliance Rules You Might Not be Aware Of

May 28th, 2013

EEOC Compliance RulesHuman resources professionals know all to well how tough it can be to keep up with rule changes via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For example, Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing company that has 42,000 employees, found itself having to pay a penalty and adjust its hiring practices after the New York Attorney General’s office determined that the company broke the law when it refused to hire job applicants who had criminal convictions during the previous seven years, according to a report from Lexology.

It’s simply bad business to break the laws with discriminatory hiring practices. You will find that it pays to invest time on a regular basis to keep yourself informed on EEOC rules and regulations to ensure that your organization remains in compliance.

For example, did you know that it is a violation of EEOC rules to force your employees to disclose confidential, personal medical information before you approve them to take a health leave? The EEOC settled a lawsuit against Dillards that claimed the company improperly asked employees to provide this information and fired workers with disabilities who had taken more health leave than the company’s maximum allowable time.

With advances in genetic screening technology making it easier and more affordable to get a person’s DNA scanned for the purposes of diagnostics and disease prediction, employers might be tempted to ask applicants for their genetic information during recruitment.

A prudent manager with an eye on the company’s bottom line might not see any problem in refusing to hire someone who has the potential to develop an expensive medical condition. However, the EEOC enforces the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prevents you from asking potential employees for their genetic data or their family medical history.

To minimize your organization’s potential liability for engaging in discriminatory hiring practices, take the time to visit the EEOC website on a regular basis. Repeated visits to the site will help you keep up with the latest news about rules and regulations, and to learn about companies that have violated the rules, so you can learn from their mistakes.  An even more efficient route to EEOC compliance is to utilize a hiring software package / applicant tracking system that integrates EEOC / OFCCP compliance.

Following EEOC rules should result in your organization continuing to hire the best people for the positions you are filling, while maintaining a stellar reputation in the community. If your firm is known to avoid discriminatory hiring practices, you stand a better chance to attract the best and brightest job applicants from all walks of life.