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Beware bias peril built into applicant tests

Do you use off-the-shelf pre-employment tests to screen applicants? Watch out! You could be setting yourself up for years of litigation if a disappointed applicant sues, alleging some form of discrimination.

DOJ: Corpus Christi’s police tests biased against women

Between 2005 and 2011, the Corpus Christi Police Department hired 113 male entry-level police officers—and just 12 women. The U.S. De­­part­­ment of Justice thinks it knows the reason for the disparity: a physical ability test that most men can pass but few women can.

When can we insist on a substance-abuse test?


Q. A couple of weeks ago, an employee came into work smelling like alcohol. His supervisor later reported that day that the employee “acted drunk” in a staff meeting. Yesterday, one of the same employee’s co-workers indicated that the employee came back from lunch “smelling like marijuana.” Can these reports justify requiring the employee to undergo a drug or alcohol test?

Court: New promotion test lists aren’t discriminatory

Employers that compile promotion lists based on test results should tell employees that the lists will be updated periodically.

Could high school diploma requirement violate the ADA?


An “informal discussion letter” from the EEOC had employment-law circles buzzing last month—and creating uncertainty about employer’s use of high school diplomas as hiring criteria. The nonbinding EEOC letter said employers, in some instances, could infringe on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when requiring all applicants to have a high school diploma.

Refusing hair-sample drug test trims firm’s bank account

G2 Secure Staff has settled a disability discrimination charge stemming from poor hiring practices at Raleigh-Durham International Air­­port, where the company provides security services.

Drug test leads to disability bias suit against Chicago firm

Employers know to be wary of drug tests because they sometimes falsely show that someone has been using illegal drugs. Now Chicago-based United Insurance has learned of another danger: Drug tests can t­rigger disability discrimination lawsuits.

After years of litigation, court orders cops’ promotion

Federal courts don’t like being turned into proxies for HR departments, but they will act when necessary. That’s how the 6th Circuit recently came to order the immediate promotion of police officers in a discrimination case that has been in the courts for more than a decade and still isn’t finished.

Drug testing leads to disability bias suit in Raleigh

Employers know to be wary of drug tests because they’re sometimes incorrect, falsely indicating that someone has been using illegal drugs. Now the Raleigh office of a national insurance giant has learned of another danger: Drug tests can trigger disability discrimination lawsuits.

What are the risks of using pre-employment tests?

Q. We’re considering using an online pre-employment screening test designed to determine if an applicant is the right fit for our business. Are there any risks associated with using such tests?