Employee Experience

How to Be Compliant During the Hiring Process

Manoj Rana
November 30, 2022
min read
How to Be Compliant During the Hiring Process
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How to Be Compliant During the Hiring Process

Hiring new employees into your organization is an exciting time. However, the hiring and onboarding process can be fraught with compliance dangers. All employers need to be aware of the strict regulations governing the hiring process and must make sure they are following all of the rules.

All employers must take care that hiring decisions are made based on nondiscriminatory criteria. This means employers may not base hiring decisions on characteristics such as age, race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or religion.

With all of the different laws and regulations surrounding hiring practices, it can be overwhelming. However, the consequences of failing to comply can be disastrous for an employer.

What happens if you violate these rules?

Violations of hiring and onboarding regulations can lead to hefty fines and penalties. Employers who violate these rules may be subject to back pay compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. 

However, financial damages are not the only consequence of violating hiring and onboarding rules. Employers who violate these rules may also face significant negative publicity and damage to their image, which can take a significant toll on an employer’s bottom line and make it difficult to attract and hire top talent. 

Employers who violate these regulations may also be subject to other penalties. For example, employers who violate these rules may face civil actions, investigations by state agencies, and revocation of their state business licenses. 

To avoid these potential issues, employers should develop detailed compliance procedures. These procedures should outline the hiring and onboarding process, identify which individuals are responsible for executing the process, and detail the steps that should be taken.

Below are some steps employers can take to make sure their hiring practices are compliant.

Be familiar with the most recent legal framework

Every aspect of employment, from how you hire, manage, and pay your employees, to how you treat them, protect them, and even fire them is regulated by some sort of legislation or regulation.

Despite the fact that most rules only apply to current workers, knowing what they are in advance will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.

In order to keep you prepared, we'll go over some of the most important recruitment compliance rules, regulations, and recommendations:

  • Anti-discrimination laws — The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act all fall within the anti-discrimination umbrella (PDA). Despite the fact that this isn't a full list, these are some of the most important legislation aimed at avoiding workplace discrimination.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — This legislation dictates how employers must treat employees in terms of pay and overtime. It's critical to think through, establish, and record your expectations for compensation and hourly breakdown when developing your recruitment strategy.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) — This legislation prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, disability, and age. The Civil Rights Center and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs are two parts of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that keep an eye on and enforce EEO laws.
  • Organization for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) — To provide a safe and healthy working environment, companies must comply with OSHA's rules and regulations. As part of your recruitment strategy, be sure to inform candidates if OSHA certifications are necessary for the position.

Decide on the work specifications

A needs analysis should be the first step in determining your optimal hiring tactics. For example, what kind of training is required? Is there a certificate program that can replace formal education? Does one necessary to have a certain level of experience?

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is made simpler by understanding what is and is not necessary. Disqualification for a job based on a handicap is prohibited if the candidate can perform the job's essential functions with reasonable accommodation.

As long as you don't include any more chores that aren't absolutely necessary, you should be good to go.

Carefully create job advertisements

Once you determine the work specification, the next step is to craft a job advertisement. However, if you’re not careful when advertising a job opening, you might be in violation of compliance.

The employer’s advertisement must clearly describe the job position, including the key responsibilities and qualifications. The employer must also ensure that the solicitation process is open to all applicants.

This means that the employer cannot post the advertisement only on certain websites, or only in specific places. Also, the employer cannot charge a fee to the applicant to apply for the job.

Employers are not allowed to include language in job advertisements that indicate a preference for certain characteristics. For example, employers cannot advertise for “young,” “mature,” or “energetic” applicants. 

Likewise, employers cannot advertise for “male” or “female” applicants. Employers may, however, advertise for applicants with certain skills or experience. 

Carefully choose interview questions

Employers must also be careful when asking for information during the interview process. Some questions may violate an individual’s rights under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

For example, employers may not ask candidates about their age, race, national origin, or religion. Likewise, employers may not ask candidates if they have children or other dependents.

Moreover, employers must be careful when requesting references. Employers cannot ask an applicant for information regarding the applicant’s prior salary, such as how much the applicant made at previous jobs.

Ensure background check compliance

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is the primary piece of legislation that ensures background checks are carried out accurately. You must obtain written consent from the individual before conducting a background check. There are also guidelines on how to manage and apply the information gleaned from a background check.

Depending on your state's regulations, some of the information in a background check may be protected as well. Certain medications, credit records, and records older than a certain number of years, for example, can all be safeguarded. When private information is utilized to make a choice, compliance standards are breached.

Also, all background checks must be conducted in the same manner. A corporation that does background checks on certain candidates but not on others is inherently discriminatory.

Document the entire hiring process

Employers must maintain detailed documentation throughout the hiring and onboarding process. This means employers must maintain documentation related to any job applications, advertisements, and rejections.

Further, employers must maintain documentation related to the interview process and keep detailed notes of all interviews. These notes should include information about who interviewed the candidate, where the interview took place, and what was discussed during the interview.

Communication records should also be maintained. These records should include all communications relating to the hiring process, including emails, memos, and notes. With an automated cloud archiving solution, you can safely keep these records for as long as you need them, and safely dispose of them once the retention period expires.

Ensure proper data protection

As the number of data breaches rises, companies are under more and more pressure to ensure the security of the information they gather on potential employees.

GDPR, for example, requires that companies obtain permission before gathering the personal information of applicants. It also grants the candidates the right to get a copy of the information you've gathered about them.

Further, if an individual’s information is stolen or compromised, companies are required to inform those individuals. GDPR also requires companies to notify the relevant authorities of any data breach.

Here are some steps you can tackle in order to avoid data breaches in the first palace:

  • Conduct regular risk assessments
  • Create and maintain comprehensive information security policies and procedures
  • Communicate with employees about the company’s data protection policies
  • Carry out regular audits on the company’s data protection policies
  • Collaborate only with trusted vendors 
  • Train employees on data protection
  • Conduct annual data protection training

Make a detailed offer

The contract conditions should be discussed and the type of contract offered should be explicitly defined, such as permanent, freelancer, part-time, or fixed term.

Clearly outline what is needed to move forward with the application and make sure that all appropriate paperwork, such as a valid passport or visa, is obtained.

Define what a new worker will receive in terms of benefits, pension contribution plans, time off, and other considerations that are specific to the organization or their particular position.

Outline any pertinent information about the company's rules on sick leave and other concerns, such as unsociable hours or flexible work schedules, in the offer letter and in the contract that follows. All of this is spelled out in detail in the employee's written employment contract.

Over to you

Recruitment compliance can seem like a daunting process. But as long as you make sure you're familiar with the most recent legal framework, carefully create job advertisements, carefully choose interview questions, ensure the background check compliance, document the entire hiring process, and satisfy data protection requirements, you'll be well on your way to avoiding compliance issues.