Make sure testing is related to actual job duties

Employers that use general tests to screen applicants run the risk of facing a disparate-impact discrimination lawsuit. If that happens, you will have to prove that the test measures qualities that relate to actual job duties.

Ensure physical tests are fair for women

Some professions require applicants to prove a certain level of physical fitness. When employers demand passing a physical test as a qualification to be hired, they need to make sure that protected classes such as women don’t fail at rates that indicate the test has a disparate impact on otherwise qualified applicants.

How could pre-employment test be discriminatory?

Q. I am looking to hire new employees. Some applicants who did not qualify for the open positions are now threatening to sue, claiming that my pre-employment tests are discriminatory. What should I know about pre-employment tests?

Employee failing test? OK to end it early


Generally, employees taking an exam required for promotion should be tested under similar circumstances, take the same test and generally be treated the same. But sometimes, especially during a hands-on test, it becomes obvious early on that the employee does not have the skill to pass. If that’s the case, you can end the test early.

Blast from the past: Feds revive civil service exam

Would-be government workers are again taking part in a ritual that had virtually disappeared for 43 years: taking a civil service exam to qualify for jobs with federal agencies.

Block hiring lawsuits with simple FAQ handout


Do you explain up front to job applicants exactly how your hiring process will work? If not, consider providing a written notice that outlines the process—possibly in a simple frequently-asked-questions format. The FAQ will come in handy later if a disgruntled applicant sues, claiming she was blacklisted or suffered discrimination by not being hired or called for an interview.

Unless required, consider dropping drug tests


For many employers interested in maintaining a safe and productive workplace, it doesn’t make sense to require pre-employment drug and alcohol screening or randomly make current employees provide urine or blood samples. That was the contrarian advice attorney James P. Reidy offered March 24 at the Society for Human Resource Management Employment Law & Legislative Conference.

Safeguard against failure-to-hire suits by explaining how hiring process works


Do you explain up front exactly how your hiring process works? If not, consider providing a written notice that outlines the process, especially if it’s a lengthy one and you collect applications even when you have no current openings. This may come in handy later if a disgruntled applicant sues, claiming she was blacklisted or suffered discrimination by not being called for an interview or otherwise being considered for a position.

Workplace Drug Testing


HR Law 101: Drug testing and substance abuse prevention programs can involve substantial legal liability if employers don't manage and administer them properly. If your organization decides to implement a drug testing program, there are ways to minimize the risk of employee lawsuits ...

Who gets tested for drugs?

The hiring stakes are particularly high for small businesses. That’s why about two-thirds of small business owners reported in a recent survey that they ask job candidates to undergo drug tests before being hired.

Does a 'shy bladder' constitute a disability?


Some jobs are so safety-sensitive that employers are required to perform drug and alcohol tests on employees. For example, Department of Trans­­por­­ta­­tion regulations require regular tests for commercial truck drivers. But what if an employee can’t produce a urine sample?

Bill would target nurses who dodge drug diversion

Following reports of numerous Minnesota nurses continuing to practice despite failing to abide by the state’s substance abuse diversion requirements, State Rep. Tina Liebling has introduced legislation to require regulators to suspend noncompliant nurses.

Are we allowed to ask questions about an applicant's family medical history?

Q. We make offers to applicants contingent on passing a physical examination. As a part of the examination the doctor asks for a medical history, including questions about the applicant’s family medical history. We have heard that we should not ask about the applicant’s family medical history, but we aren’t sure if that’s true. Should we not ask for this information?

Austin F.D. stops hiring after EEOC claims testing bias

The Austin Fire Department has stopped hiring candidates from its 2012 candidate list now that the EEOC has declared that its hiring test discriminated against black and Hispanic candidates. The EEOC pointed to disparities in pass rates between the groups.

Drug test inconclusive? Offer a second chance

If a prehire drug test is inconclusive, you may want to offer the applicant a second chance to take the test.
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