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Take a lesson from Target: the EEOC is interested in your hiring policies and practices

Posted on: March 18th, 2016 | Category: Government Regulatory & Compliance Issues, hiring process, Our Blog

pre-hiring EEOC violations Target | myHR BlogThe hiring policies and methods employers use have been the subject of closer scrutiny by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Last year, the agency examined various pre-employment hiring practices that they believe may create barriers for individuals with protected status.

Don’t believe us? According to an insightful blog post by Workforce Editor Rick Bell, this this includes pre-employment testing methods used by many employers across the country. “While recent litigation has focused on criminal history, the EEOC also has been closely scrutinizing other pre-employment hiring practices that may create barriers for individuals with protected status, including any pre-employment testing engaged in by employers,” according to Bell’s post.

Don’t believe Bell? Maybe you should look at what happened to Target. According to an in-depth article published by Fortune Magazine, the EEOC found the retail giant had several employment tests that discriminated on the basis of race and sex, which violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It cost Target $2.8 million to resolve things out of court over nationwide discriminatory practices. That is a huge figure considering that while the EEOC did find that the tests had potential for adverse impact, no disparities were found in Target’s actual hiring record.

According to Fortune, Target has stated that only a small fraction of the assessments administered during the time period examined could have been problematic, that they believe no improper behavior occurred and that none of the assessments cited by the EEOC are still in use.

So what were the violations?

From the Fortune article, the EEOC found:

  • ReEEOC compliance and hiring myHR Partnerasonable cause to believe that three employment assessments formerly used by Target disproportionately screened out applicants for positions based on race and sex. These were for “exempt-level professional positions” and were “not sufficiently job-related and consistent with business necessity”
  • The company failed to adhere to the ADA with one of its pre-hire assessments involving questions that were asked and interpreted by psychologists, which resulted in interview summaries that Target used during its hiring process—something that an employer cannot do before making a job offer, and even then, only if it requires the assessment of all workers applying for jobs in that category
  • The retailer failed to maintain required records to properly assess the impact of its hiring procedures


Your hiring practices and policies are not boring to the EEOC

You can learn from Target’s compliance troubles. It would not be wise to assume that because your organization smaller than Target, that your hiring practices and policies are not something the EEOC is going to be interested in examining. If 2015 is any indication, they are on a roll with these types of investigations. Take time to go over your pre-hiring processes to make sure they are compliant and keep good records. If you are not sure about what is or is not seen as discriminatory by the EEOC, you should check with a legal advisor sooner, rather than later.

Give your hiring managers the right tools to stay ADA and Title VII compliant

The time to fix any glitches in your pre-hiring process is now, before it’s too late to prevent an EEOC issue. myHR Partner can help. We offer expert human resources support, hiring management and training that can help you build your best workforce ever while remaining compliant before, during and after the hiring process. Contact us today!

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