How to Avoid Employment Discrimination as a Business Owner

Employment discrimination can have serious repercussions for employees and employers alike, and business owners would do well to create a workplace environment free from discrimination. Here, the business and employment attorneys at The Law Office of James A. List detail best hiring practices to prevent employment discrimination.

Develop an Appropriate List of Qualifications

Before posting job opportunities, take the time to carefully consider the qualifications necessary to successfully work in the position for which you are hiring. Some of these qualifications may be education, areas of expertise, skills, and familiarity with certain systems or processes, among others. Avoid requirements that mandate specific physical characteristics—for example, requiring a candidate to be of a certain height and weight—as this could prevent certain segments of the population from being hired. Also, do not require candidates be “over-qualified,” or possess skills that are not required to satisfactorily complete the job: this too could limit certain groups in their ability to be hired, and could be used against the company as evidence of discrimination.

Hold Interviews Properly

Create interview questions based on the qualifications you developed for the position. Ask every candidate the same questions. When interviewing a candidate, be sure to take notes about the questions asked and answers given. While this is a useful practice for reviewing candidates after interviews are complete, it also provides a level of security for the employer, should a rejected applicant sue for discrimination. Be sure to always interview a candidate in the presence of at least one other company representative, whether a manager, employee or human resource representative. Having someone present to witness your interactions with an applicant could help prove you handled the interview process fairly and without discrimination.

Document Your Reasons for Selection of Candidates or Employees

When deciding between candidates, create a brief analysis that details why an applicant is qualified or unqualified for the position in question. Along with the interview notes, keep these analyses for at least a year after the hiring process is complete. While the typical statute of limitations for a discrimination case is 180 days from the discriminatory incident, the deadline can be extended to 300 days in some cases.

A similar analysis should be written and kept when deciding to terminate an employee. Always perform terminations in the presence of a witness, and act in a professional and calm manner. Record the event, if it seems necessary, as having an abundance of evidence of a fair and upright procedure is always advisable.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Employment discrimination can have lasting consequences for a business and its owner, so ensuring proper procedure is followed is critical to a businesses’ success. At The Law Office of James A. List, our experienced attorneys are well versed in business law and proper hiring practices, and can provide you with the legal support needed to handle any employment, or other business-related dispute, adequately. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Baltimore Office

11019 McCormick Road, Suite 400

Hunt Valley, Maryland 21031

Eastern Shore Office

5700 Coastal Highway, Suite 100

Ocean City, Maryland 21842