Discrimination in hiring
Discrimination in hiring is the practice of treating applicants for employment differently based on their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, age, or other protected class characteristics. This can include creating job postings or ads that contain discriminatory language, refusing to hire certain applicants because of their protected class, or giving preference to certain applicants based on their protected class. Discrimination in hiring is illegal, and employers are expected to create fair and equitable hiring and recruitment processes.
Example of discrimination in hiring
- An employer might advertise a job opening with language that explicitly states they are looking for a certain gender, such as "seeking a male candidate for this position."
- An employer might refuse to hire a person because of their race, such as refusing to hire a black person for a position.
- An employer might give preference to applicants of a certain faith, such as only hiring applicants who are of a certain religion.
- An employer might ask questions about an applicant’s age, such as "How old are you?"
- An employer might ask an applicant questions about their marital status or family plans, such as "Do you plan to have children in the near future?"
Types of discrimination in hiring
Discrimination in hiring can take on various forms, including:
- Gender discrimination - This form of discrimination can involve employers refusing to hire or promote individuals based on their gender. It can also involve employers creating job postings or ads with language that implies a preference for one gender over another.
- Race discrimination - This type of discrimination involves denying certain applicants employment based on their race. It can also include using language in job postings or ads that implies an employer prefers one race over another.
- Religious discrimination - This form of discrimination involves denying certain applicants employment based on their religion. It can also include using language in job postings or ads that implies an employer prefers one religion over another.
- Age discrimination - This type of discrimination involves refusing to hire or promote individuals based on their age. It can also involve creating job postings or ads that contain age-related language, such as requirements for a certain number of years of experience.
- Ethnicity discrimination - This form of discrimination involves denying certain applicants employment based on their ethnicity. It can also include using language in job postings or ads that implies an employer prefers one ethnicity over another.
- Disability discrimination - This type of discrimination involves refusing to hire or promote individuals based on their disability. It can also involve creating job postings or ads that contain language that implies an employer prefers individuals without disabilities.
How to avoid discrimination in hiring
An effective hiring process should not include any discrimination. Here are the steps to ensure that discrimination does not occur in hiring:
- Develop a clear job description: When creating a job description, employers should be careful to avoid language that could be perceived as discriminatory. It is important to be specific about what the job entails and what skills and qualifications are needed.
- Set standard criteria for selection: Employers should create criteria for selection that are job-related and not based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, age, or other protected classes.
- Utilize blind screening: Employers should use blind screening when reviewing applications. This means that personal information, such as the applicant's name, gender, race, or age should not be visible to the reviewer.
- Ensure equal access to job postings: Employers should ensure that job postings are widely disseminated and easily accessible, so that applicants of all backgrounds have equal access to the opportunity.
- Provide a structured interview process: Employers should use a structured interview process to ensure that all applicants are evaluated on the same criteria.
- Make reasonable accommodations: Employers should make reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities or other special needs.
- Follow strict anti-discrimination policies: Employers should have strict anti-discrimination policies in place and ensure that all employees are aware of and abide by them.
Results of discrimination in hiring
Discrimination in hiring can limit the potential of a workplace by creating an environment where certain applicants are unfairly excluded or disadvantaged. This can lead to a lack of diversity, a decrease in creativity, and an overall decrease in a business’s potential. Additionally, discrimination in hiring can lead to a decrease in morale and productivity in the workplace, as well as an increased risk of legal action. The following are some of the limitations of discrimination in hiring:
- Unfair exclusion of certain applicants from the hiring process, which can limit the potential of a workplace.
- A lack of diversity in the workplace, which can decrease creativity and collaboration.
- A decrease in morale and productivity in the workplace, as employees may feel their opportunities for advancement have been hindered.
- An increased risk of legal action due to discrimination claims.
- The potential for a decrease in profitability, as discrimination in hiring can create a hostile work environment that can lead to a decrease in employee retention.
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- Glick, P., Zion, C., & Nelson, C. (1988). What mediates sex discrimination in hiring decisions?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55(2), 178.
- Quillian, L., & Midtbøen, A. H. (2021). Comparative perspectives on racial discrimination in hiring: The rise of field experiments. Annual Review of Sociology, 47, 391-415.