Pittsburgh Technical Council

Hiring Your Team: Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Identifying and Interviewing Potential Team Members

Hiring Your Team: Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Identifying and Interviewing Potential Team Members

Article Published: December 7, 2015

By Erin McLaughlin | Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney | Counsel, Labor & Employment

Effective hiring processes and procedures will help you to avoid many costly headaches later on. Here are some tips on avoiding legal pitfalls in the hiring process.

Understand What Laws Apply

Various employment laws govern the hiring process depending on the size of your organization. Federal, state and local laws make it illegal to discriminate in hiring on the basis of a protected class, which generally includes race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Specifically, an employer violates the law when it: (a) fails to hire an applicant because of the applicant’s protected class; or (b) uses facially neutral criteria that has an adverse impact on the hiring of applicants in a protected class.

Regardless of your size, it is best practice to comply with the applicable federal, state and local laws in the hiring process to minimize the potential for discrimination claims in the future.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers an online summary of Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices.

Define the Job

As an employer, you must first define the position that you seek to fill. Many employers define a position using a position description or a job posting. First, you must identify the essential functions of the position, meaning those functions that are critical to the position and are the primary reasons that the position exists. Essential functions generally include the required job duties and responsibilities, shift requirements, physical demands, required certifications and licenses, required education, required prior experience and other necessary skills.

Additionally, you will want identify marginal or non-essential functions and skills that, while not required, would be ideal for the individual to have.

In any position description or job posting, make clear that you are an equal opportunity employer and will consider applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other status protected by law.

As you proceed through the hiring process, document any adjustments made to the functions and requirements of the position. Maintain your job descriptions and job postings (including revisions) for a period of at least two years or longer if required by applicable law. The EEOC provides informal guidance on position descriptions in a discussion letter that can be found online.

Read the full article and learn additional tips on avoiding legal pitfalls in the hiring process at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s Startup In-Formation blog.

Other Articles That May Interest You:

Sign In or Join Up