Diversity Hiring? Be careful…

Culture, Diversity and InclusionJust read an interesting posting on LinkedIn.  The post centered around what is legal and illegal during the hiring and recruitment phase vis a vis Diversity hiring.

The question was “Is it still illegal to ask a candidate for employment for his/her race to determine if the person is “diverse” and can apply for a job?”

The follow-up question was “Is it still illegal to deny that candidate a job when he/she identifies his/her race as “white” because the company isn’t hiring white people? Asian candidates also don’t qualify apparently either.”

Discrimination in the guise of Diversity

Having a diverse work force is beneficial to the company, the community, and the nation.  But how you get there can be a slippery slope. 

In this land, it is illegal (in 99% of all jobs – a bona fide occupational qualification) to hire or not hire someone based on race.  There are other hiring criteria that would also be illegal to hire/not hire as the reason, but let’s stick to race, since that was what the post was about. 

So how do you ensure that your recruitment efforts bring in a diverse applicant pool?  Just posting on LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter or Indeed may find you an applicant pool, but is it diverse enough?

Some of the suggestions made are to use your marketing skills to reach out to communities of diversity and place advertisements.

Hiring Process

Remember, you are looking for a diverse applicant pool, period.  Once you close your acceptance of applications you need to adhere to Federal and State Laws, i.e., you can’t use as a criteria factor for or against an individual for hiring, their race.

A wise employment attorney said in response to this post, “…hiring decisions should be based on experience, character, skills, abilities, personality, culture-fit, etc. etc. As a wise man said, judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.”

Protecting yourself (company)

A Director of Human Resources at a major defense contractor made an observation worth repeating.  While the C-Level may have said to HR and hiring managers they wanted more diversity, and HR somewhere along the way, the recruiters who are not conversant with the law misunderstood. 

They looked for Diversity candidates and, in the process, asked questions that are currently illegal.  And, whether you realize it or not, a white person can be race discriminated against.  While proving it may be more difficult, if as another attorney said “The recruiter just threw out ‘Negro’ like it was nothing. It’s not even on the census anymore.

Usually, the reverse race discrimination claims are tough. But not when you have direct evidence of it. They are setting themselves up for a class action lawsuit too because of the countless applicants they are going to deny with the same logic.”

So, the answer to side-stepping discrimination lawsuits is market for diversity recruitment and hire on qualifications!