How to Avoid Discriminatory Job Posts and Avoid Fines

Experienced Waitress Wanted Signs like the one posted above will soon be a thing of the past. What's the problem with it you ask? Read below.

Recently, the NYC Commission on Human Rights aka the "City Commission" increased its efforts to enforce the NYC Human Rights law. The committee has focused particularly on job postings examining advertisements on Craigslist that indicate a preference towards a particular gender or age. An example of this is a job posting for a "waitress" as opposed to using a more neutral job title of "server".  Another example is when an employer states that they are looking to hire someone described as "energetic". The term is often considered a code word for only wanting a "young" employee.

The committee goes a step beyond highlighting this type of language on job posts. In order to create further evidence of a violation, the committee sends multiple inquiries to the employer in question. These inquiries contain nearly identical resumes, however, some are sent from male applicants and others from female applicants. Tracking software is used to see if the employer only opens emails from only one gender or from both.

If discriminatory practices are in place, the City Commission sends an agency-initiated complaint of discrimination to the employer, alleging discrimination in employment based upon the job post and the protected class at issue (ex. age or gender). After the complaint is filed, the City Commission mandates supervisor training and an financial penalty ranging from $2,500 - $5,000.

Workplace Discrimination

The City Commission isn't the only government agency combing through Craigslist. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other state agencies have been doing this for years. In addition to sending out resumes, these agencies have been known to send "spotters", who often apply to jobs in person in order to weed out discrimination based on gender, age, race etc. Hospitality and the Retail industries are prone to these types of investigations. It is not limited to the restaurant industry.

In order to avoid this type of investigation and the fines associated with it, employers should be extremely vigilant and thorough when drafting job posts, ensuring that they do not indicate any preference that may violate anti-discrimination laws. Employers are also advised to maintain records of each applicant and individual that interviewed for each job, including maintaining all resumes and applications submitted. Harri is already compliant to this law. Harri's built in features such as having the correct terminology preloaded for job posts and our Applicant Management System (AMS). Our AMS easily allows employers to track, message, store and hire; all from one dashboard for a cost less than Craigslist.

In addition to keeping records and using proper job posting techniques, staff training is also imperative. Employers should ensure employees that screening is not based on unlawful factors. Finally, a system of checks and balances should be implementing prior to posting ads online.

[Courtesy of The NY Alliance]

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