New EEOC Guidance On Anti-Discrimination In Hiring

Aug 10, 2016

A client recently got into trouble with the EEOC after an “anonymous” complaint had been filed by one applicant who was interviewed – and rejected through the hiring process. This unfortunate incident led me to write this debrief, to remind you, our valued client, that you should do everything you can to enforce compliance with EEOC regulations in your hiring process.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is an agency of the federal government, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The purpose of the EEOC is to interpret and enforce federal laws prohibiting discrimination. The agency recently released a new guidance on rules and procedures you need to be aware of, as an employer, when you engage in personnel selection. Specifically, this new proposed guidance covers the topic of national origin discrimination. Here are some highlights:

You can find the full guidance at this EEOC link. Below you will find the main points of attention which need to be addressed and complied with.

  • National priority. In the new guidance announcement, EEOC Chair Jenny Yang said, “The EEOC has identified immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable populations as a national strategic priority.” What it means for you is that the EEOC is going to be actively hunting for employers who discriminate against people in those classes.


  • Discrimination based on “perceived” national origin. It is illegal to refuse to hire someone because you “think” or “perceive” that she/he is of a specific geographic area or ethnics or religion.


  • Word-of-mouth recruiting. Advertising a job only to members of certain ethnically or racially homogeneous audiences could be seen by the EEOC as discriminatory. If you post a job ad on an ethnic or religious-related job board without posting it also on other job boards, you could be suspected of discrimination.


  • Joint liability with staffing firms. If a recruitment agency that you use discriminates against workers, and you suspect it’s happening, you could be held liable with the recruitment service provider for its discriminatory practices. So ensure that your recruitment agency provides you evidence of strict adherence to EEOC rules.


  • Joint liability of discrimination with your customers. If you make an employment decision based on some discriminatory preferences of customers, the discrimination will be on the employer’s part.


  • Social Security screening. Screening out job candidates because they lack a Social Security number, but are otherwise “work-authorized,” may be illegal if it disproportionately affects individuals of a certain ethnicity or national origin.


  • Segregation is discrimination. Separating employees – for example by making some employees of one ethic group work in a different room while other employees are free to deal with customers, is discriminatory.


  • Language fluency requirements. English fluency requirements are OK but any language requirements must be driven by business necessity.


  • All employees/applicants are covered. Title VII protects individuals regardless of their immigration status. Foreign operations are also covered, too. American employers that operate internationally must comply with Title VII — unless doing so would violate the laws of the nation in which they’re operating.

If you feel the need to know more about EEOC regulations and how to comply, read my book “No-Fail Hiring 2.0” – a full guideline is proposed to help you work within the law.

If you need to develop a fool-proof hiring procedure which not only brings you top players but also ensures compliance with EEOC regulations, ask for our “No-Fail Hiring System” full training/coaching program.

To you success,

Patrick Valtin,
Best-Selling Author of “No-Fail Hiring 2.0

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