Don’t Let Your Pre-Employment Test Cost You a $2.8 million EEOC fine

Pre-employment test By now, you’ve probably heard that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) fined  Target, the retail giant, $2.8 million in August. The EEOC said Target was using pre-employment tests that discriminated against certain minorities.

If you’re using pre-employment tests, or considering using them, you need to pay attention to this ruling and make sure your tests pass the test. Failing to do so could make you the next EEOC target.

Why Target Got Fined

At the time of the violations, Target was using a number of assessments in their recruiting process. The EEOC found that three of those assessments disproportionately screened out applicants based on race and sex. According to Target, “only a small fraction of the assessments administered during the relevant time period could have been problematic,” but the EEOC still fined them $2.8 million.

This fine should serve as a cautionary tale for companies using assessments. In an article on the SHRM website, attorney Colleen Regan stated that the EEOC is stepping up its enforcement regarding workplace assessments.

Your pre-employment test should provide an equal opportunity for all test-takers to demonstrate their potential fit for the vacant position. It shouldn’t screen out disproportionate numbers of a group of people by gender or ethnicity.

How Do I Know if My Pre-Employment Assessment is EEOC Compliant?

Whether or not an assessment is EEOC compliant is one of many questions you should be asking when looking for an assessment solution.  (Five others can be found here.)

If you’re currently using an assessment tool, or evaluating one, ask your solution provider for documented evidence that they are EEOC compliant. The testing to confirm this should have been done by an independent third party and will likely be contained in what’s called a Technical Manual. Get a copy of the entire manual. It will tell you exactly what type of testing was done to validate the assessment.

You can learn more about how we validate our assessments here.

Here are 5 more questions you should ask before choosing a talent assessment tool:

  1. Is the tool scientifically based?
  2. Does the system provide a role, or job benchmarking tool?
  3. Are the reports easy to understand?
  4. What level of customer service do they provide?
  5. Do the results live up to hype?

Do you think the fine Target received was fair?


Posted by Ian Cameron

18 Sep 2015