Recruitment Compliance: Navigating Legal and Regulatory Challenges in Hiring

Recruitment Compliance: Navigating Legal and Regulatory Challenges in Hiring

Recruitment is an essential part of any growing business, and research suggests that 46% of human resources managers state that it’s their top priority. With talent shortages impacting multiple industries from data management to healthcare, it’s easy to see why firms are channeling time and resources into sourcing top talent.

However, recruitment isn’t as simple as posting a job description and hoping for the best. Growing businesses must ensure compliance with various stringent privacy regulations. They also have to take care when performing background checks to ensure they’re following both federal and state guidelines. Understanding recruitment compliance helps HR leaders find the right person for the job—without compromising the integrity and legal standing of their company.

Equal Employment Opportunity Laws

Employers should know that due to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it’s illegal to discriminate against someone due to a protected characteristic, including:

  • Sex (this includes discriminating against someone for pregnancy/childbirth-related conditions)
  • Gender identity
  • Race
  • Skin color
  • Religion
  • Age

If an employee or prospective employee complains that they’ve been discriminated against, it’s also illegal for the employer to retaliate. For example, a woman may complain that she was being harassed by a male colleague. Perhaps that colleague is dismissed, but the woman then gets passed over for promotion despite being the most qualified, in retaliation for “stirring the pot.” This is illegal, and if action were taken, the employer could face serious consequences.

Equality laws also protect applicants during the hiring process. Recruiters must be careful to ensure they’re not inadvertently allowing bias to cloud their assessment of applicants. It’s also critical to ensure everyone, regardless of background, is provided a benefits package based on merit. In the world of tech, women are still paid less than their equally talented male counterparts and experience higher levels of discrimination. HR leaders should proactively address these issues and work to close any unfair pay gaps.

FCRA Compliance for Background Checks

Running a background check on applicants is standard practice for many firms. However, there are strict privacy guidelines determining what data an employer can and can’t use during hiring. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that employers must gain written consent from the individual to perform a background check. Employers must also be transparent about the information gathered, and the onus is on them to ensure it’s accurate. If an applicant is denied employment due to the content of a background check, employers must disclose this.

Failure to comply with these and related guidelines can result in fines for the company and a severe loss of reputation.

GDPR and Data Protection Regulations

Applicant privacy also extends to how companies handle data throughout and beyond the hiring process. Personal information such as name, address, date of birth, and medical details are protected under various privacy laws. Many American businesses make the mistake of thinking that the European GDPR data protection laws don’t apply. However, if any aspect of your business or your business’s data is handled by a company that operates in Europe, then you must adhere to GDPR standards. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to 4% of a company’s annual turnover.

ADA Accommodations for Disabled Applicants

Other considerations include making the workplace accessible for all applicants. It’s illegal to not employ someone because making the necessary accommodations for them would be challenging or expensive. If a disabled person is the most qualified person for a role, employers must try and make it possible for them to work as comfortably as possible. This includes making accommodations for job interviews. Accommodations include but aren’t limited to:

  • Sign language interpreters
  • Modified seating
  • Accessible rooms, e.g., a ground floor meeting room or one with a widened door for mobility access
  • Modified documents, e.g., dyslexia-friendly fonts and colors
  • Braille on documents and other assets
  • Regular breaks as needed

Making life easier for disabled people means companies can get access to a much larger pool of talented individuals.

Best Practices for Maintaining Compliance

Consider creating a compliance checklist for every recruitment drive. Utilize the points above to ensure that all hiring specialists are compliant in every area. It’s also worth taking feedback from your current teams to gain a snapshot of how diverse the workforce is and how individuals are treated. Employers may think that they’re treating everyone equally simply because those experiencing discrimination are nervous about speaking up and potentially placing their jobs in danger.

Work to make your entire facility accessible to everyone. Invest in buildings with ramps and elevators where possible and use clear signage and braille. Work with your disabled employees to understand what makes their lives better in the workplace and ensure you apply that throughout the recruitment process—always considering ADA laws as you do. When your workplace is welcoming to all, you build trust with your teams and create a reputation as a business people want to work for.

Navigating recruitment compliance is simpler with an expert team in your corner. Connect with MRINetwork and let us help you source top talent from a range of backgrounds, focusing on fair practices throughout.