A disgruntled employee can sue your business at any time – and, even if you win, you’ll be out time, money, and energy defending yourself.

The first step in reducing this risk is to ensure that every hire is “clean:” made purely on the basis of job requirements. To help the cause, industrial relationship experts recommend these guidelines:

  • Avoid discriminatory language when advertising job opportunities. For instance, an advertisement stating "young" or "recent grad" might discriminate against older job applicants, while “’salesman" implies discrimination based on gender.
  • Have a specific job description that gives the essential functions and abilities of the job.
  • Use a standardized interview form that asks all applicants the same questions – which must be related to the job.
  • Don’t ask applicants questions that might identify their membership in a protected class such as age, religion, or national origin, unless it’s essential to the job (For example, a parochial school can ask about the religion of a potential teacher, but not a maintenance worker).
  • Never ask whether an applicant is married, pregnant, has children, or is planning to do so.
  • Ask only questions related to the applicant's ability to perform specific job functions, not such past history as such as drug addiction.
  • If an applicant is otherwise fit for s position, don’t refuse to hire him or her based on presumed susceptibility to injury However, you can set bona fide physical criteria required by a job, such as the ability to lift a certain weight.
  • Although these “ounce of prevention” policies can help curb hiring-related discrimination claims, your business also need a comprehensive Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy.

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