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Labor & Employment

As More Companies Recruit with Pre-Employment Tests, Questions of Bias Percolate

Posted Sep 25, 2012 6:00 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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Companies are increasingly relying on pre-employment testing to find the employees with the right fit for the job. But as the testing becomes more common, so are complaints about bias and possible risk to employers.

"The bigger the data set, the more people being pushed through these assessments, the greater the risk for the employer," Matthew Camardella, an employment lawyer at Jackson Lewis, tells the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ, which pointed to the ongoing case of a hearing impaired cashier applicant who scored poorly on a pre-employment test, notes that employers can be held liable even if tests only inadvertently exclude protected groups. Companies must be able to show that the measured variables are related to job performance.

Meanwhile, the EEOC has indicated that it will be stepping up enforcement of claims of systemic discrimination in hiring, the WSJ notes. But legal challenges to date are rare, last year making up only 164 of some 100,000 EEOC complaints.

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