EEOC Starts Focusing On Recruitment and Hiring Discrimination

In our recent posting regarding EEOC’s new compliance manual on race and color discrimination, I didn’t mention that recruitment discrimination seems to get quite a bit of attention. This seems to indicate a renewed emphasis at EEOC.

Curious to see if that was a correct conclusion, I recently reviewed the transcript of the EEOC’s Commission meeting where they discussed this new compliance manual in greater detail.

What I found there was that indeed discrimination in recruitment and hiring is something that EEOC says it will be paying much more attention to.

Here is one statement made by a researcher, who made a presentation at this EEOC meeting:


Employers avoid black applicants, not just at the hiring stage but even in terms of where they choose to locate and what kind of recruitment methods they use.

Indeed, this researcher (Prof. Holzer) goes so far as to assert that:

There’s a reason to believe that employer discrimination of blacks occurs more frequently at the hiring stage than in the job assignment or promotion stage, although there’s also, as people have indicated, discrimination there as well.

Joe Sellers, a well-known plaintiff’s attorney, was also invited to speak at this meeting. Among other topics, he addressed the role of employment testing in discrimination.

He asserted that cognitive ability and personality tests “ can easily have adverse effects on the basis of race. And many employers have no real way to know how to validate these tests, even insure that they are fair predictors of success on the job.”

Joe Sellers also mentioned the common use of Internet recruitment and testing, although he offered little in terms of how that approach affects discrimination.

Indeed, little is known in the research community and I am personally not aware of any legal cases concerning the Internet and discrimination, though I do have some thoughts about this topic.

One relevant paper on this topic, written from an academic perspective, to which I contributed, is “Research on Internet Recruiting and Testing: Current Status and Future Directions.”

All of this adds up to what I believe is much more emphasis on discrimination at the recruitment and hiring stages by EEOC.

Go here to read the transcript of the EEOC commissioners’ meeting.

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