Job reviews have recently proven to be a significant source of risk for employers, especially when they can create a disparate impact on a protected category. This was demonstrated recently when an employer struck a $ 1.35 million settlement with a female candidate. This lawsuit was based on a hiring assessment requiring applicants to lift a 50lb box, which resulted in the hiring of very few women.
Physical assessments are certainly not the only hiring tools that can put your business at risk. Tools such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory can expose employers to discrimination lawsuits if not used appropriately. So let’s talk about how an employer can help ensure they don’t end up on the wrong side of a discrimination lawsuit.
First and foremost, employers need to ensure that the assessments they use are designed to measure a candidate’s ability for the job in question. It means measuring the actual skills and abilities that are directly related to the work they would be doing. Does the assessment really relate to job performance, reduction in turnover, or measures of income or customer satisfaction?
Simply reassuring a supplier that a test is effective in determining good employee performance is not enough. It is important that employers consider the effect on their own candidates and employees. From there, determine if it is actually providing evidence of good performance.
The ability to prove that an assessment is actually related to the duties of the job will be one of the strongest defenses of a test’s validity. However, employers should also consider whether the test is genuinely impartial and will not unnecessarily disproportionately impact a protected class.
For example, if an employee can do the job they are applying for without lifting fifty pounds, they should not be asked to do so in return for the job. Other assessments such as situational judgment tests should be designed specifically for the employer in question by a qualified industrial and organizational psychologist. Also, don’t forget to consider people with disabilities and how these ratings may affect them. How will your assessment work with people who have a speech disability? Also, consider those for whom English is not their first language.
Such considerations are essential in any job evaluation. Consider reviewing your current job reviews and make sure they are relevant, unbiased, and up-to-date to minimize liability and the risk of discrimination lawsuits.