Legal and Ethical Considerations in Employment Testing
When an employer thinks about implementing employee-testing policies, ethical and legal issues should be considered. The employer should seek legal advice to ensure that the suggested policy or policies will not violate any employment laws; each state has their own regulations depending on the need and demographics of that state. The present day workforce includes a diverse working environment that brings together employees from different backgrounds. In order to avoid targeting specific employees in a way that could be viewed as discrimination, written employee testing policies should be drafted and reviewed. Unfair discrimination occurs when employment decisions are based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity, age, or disability rather than on job-relevant knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics. Employers must only use tests that are unbiased and fair to all groups. Federal law stipulates that professionally-developed workplace tests can be used to make employment decisions, but only those that do not discriminate against any protected group can be used. Protected group categories include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. Employers’ ethical considerations in conducting pre-employment test to job applicants consist of guarding against invasion of privacy, guaranteeing confidentiality, obtaining informed consent, respecting the individual's right to know evaluation results, imposing time limitations of data, and minimizing false positive and false negative decisions. Implementing a written employee testing policy that outlines - why, when, and how the policy or policies will be executed is critical to every employer’s success.
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