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Résumé-Screening software: legal risks and precautions


The federal job anti-discrimination law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) prohibits two types of discrimination: disparate treatment and disparate impact. Because automated tests, such as résumé-screening programs, are blind to applicants’ race, religion, gender and national origin, they likely can’t create a disparate-treatment case. However, such programs can still have a disparate impact on minorities …

Drug-Test Policy Should Include Off-Duty Prohibition


Pennsylvania employers that want to make sure their employees don’t come to work under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs should establish a random drug-testing program. State law makes employees ineligible for unemployment compensation anytime an organization bases its firing on employees’ "failure to submit [to] and/or pass a drug test conducted pursuant to an employer’s established substance abuse policy" …

Do your homework to lock in the best bilingual talent


Demand is rising for employees who speak multiple languages. But employers need to be cautious about hiring: Some apparently bilingual employees who look good on paper don’t always pan out as promised in the language department …

Fire employee for positive cocaine test


Q. We are a small but growing construction company, and we don’t have formal policies in place. Recently, one of our employees was involved in an accident at a construction site. This is his third accident. After the second time, we had him sign a warning notice that said he’d be terminated if it happened again. We sent him for drug testing after this third accident and he came back positive for cocaine. We want to terminate him. But we suspended another worker who tested positive for marijuana. Can we fire him? —B.O., Pennsylvania

Use online tests to find best customer service staff


Because customer service employees are on your front lines every day, don’t just rely on a résumé and a good first impression to choose such vital personnel. New low-cost online tests can help you determine who has the right stuff …

Know the Legal Boundaries of Employee Lie-Detector Testing


In most cases, requiring private-sector employees to take polygraph tests will create more harm than good. That’s because the Employee Polygraph Protection Act makes it illegal to "require, request, suggest or cause an employee or prospective employee to take or submit to any lie-detector test," except in limited circumstances …

Don’t guess about a worker’s condition; test and inquire


If you treat employees as if they’re disabled, they’ll garner ADA protections even if they’re healthy as horses. Wait for skills testing and medical results to determine an employee’s condition; don’t make snap judgments …

Make sure your physical tests gauge realistic demands of the job


Any tests you use to screen applicants should relate to the job, and you must be prepared to prove that they do. If you can’t and a protected group of workers (e.g., women, minorities) tend to score poorly, you’re just asking for a lawsuit …

Push hiring managers to specify their applicant criteria

Issue: Too often, hiring managers will poorly define to HR the type of employee they’re looking to hire.
Risk: This can result in wasted time and costs, plus mounting frustration …

Use random tests to combat drug-test cheaters

Can you trust negative drug test results anymore? The Internet is flooded with products, more than 400 by one count, that help employees and job candidates cheat on drug tests. The …