by Stacy Malone, Marketing Intern

When considering taking on new hires, you must consider your state laws as well as the rules and regulations of other government agencies. You, as the employer, must be mindful of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to ensure that you are doing your best throughout the employee hiring process to not discriminate against people in any way. You should be aware of the various protected classes and how what you ask throughout the hiring process could be construed as discrimination. For instance, if you were to ask someone if they had children, then they said yes, and you decided not to hire them based on their familial status, you would likely be opening yourself up to the potential of expensive lawsuits.

Application tracking systems can help eliminate the potential for discrimination by keeping you a step removed from the applicant. In other words, it is a lot harder to discriminate against a resume and application that you view on your computer than it is to discriminate against an applicant standing in front of you. Does that sound crazy? Keep reading.

Batrus Hallweg International wrote about how OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC ended up with a $19 million class action lawsuit on their hands when their child company, Outback Steakhouse, was accused of discrimination based on sex in the promotion process. In addition to paying out $19 million, they also had to implement an applicant tracking system and hire an outside consultant for at least two years to ensure that they were following the nondiscrimination guidelines. LA Weight Loss Centers, Inc., later renamed Pure Weight Loss, Inc., also underwent a similar fate when they had to pay out $20 million in relief. They signed a 10-year consent decree which required that they implement and use an online application tracking system to prevent discriminatory practices for the future.

Implementing a system that helps prevent discriminatory acts and protects your business is an investment that’s worth it. It helps you avoid embarrassing mistakes and often costly lawsuits against your company. Why would you keep using your current system if there’s a better, easier way to track applicants, avoid slips, and comply with regulations?

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