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HR Compliance Basics For Recruiters: A Q&A With Lawyer Kate Bischoff

Adrian Dixon

June 29, 2017

HR compliance may not be the most exciting topic around but it’s one that recruiters need to understand to do their jobs ethically and legally.

With laws at the federal, state, and local levels, compliance can be a confusing and complicated issue. 

That’s why I spoke with employment lawyer, Kate Bischoff, to share her expertise on the basics of HR compliance that every recruiter should know.

HR compliance basics with Kate Bischoff employment lawyer

What does being compliant mean in the context of recruiting?

Compliance in recruiting is currently focused on discrimination, specifically disparate treatment and impact.

In the future, issues around the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and privacy will become more important.

What are the key legislation that recruiters should know?

Employers need to be aware of federal, state, and local laws. Confusingly, sometimes these laws conflict with each other.  

Unless you consult with a knowledgeable employment lawyer, you can easily find yourself out of compliance, which can result in a costly litigation or investigation.

Where can recruiters educate themselves about HR compliance?

Recruiters can learn more about compliance through their HR association’s legislation updates or by attending basic classes on compliance.

Every industry is a little different, so I encourage employers to ask an employment lawyer to buy them lunch and get some free legal advice. There’s no better value when it comes to learning about compliance issues.

Editor’s note: Employers now have access to an important HR compliance resource with the recent return of Opinion Letters from the DOL.

What are the pitfalls to avoid when using HR tech and compliance?

Recruiters are looking at every possible tool they can get their hands on to help them find candidates in today’s war for talent.

To recruiters’ benefit and somewhat to their detriment, there’s a huge market of HR tech tools. Some of these tools are created by people who lack knowledge about compliance or don’t have an HR background.

I really appreciate when HR tech vendors spend time understanding compliance issues. Those who don’t, do so at their peril.  

What are some ways recruiters can ensure they stay compliant?

When working with vendors

When a recruiting team is looking at a new technology, they should consider compliance as one of their top goals: “we want the best candidates, we want to be more efficient, and we want to remain compliant.” Talk about compliance with vendors from the get-go.

As a federal contractor

If you’re a federal contractor and fall under the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), you have to capture applicant demographic data because you need an affirmative action plan.

Typically, this data is captured in an ATS through voluntary self-identification.

As a private company

If you’re a private company, you’re not obligated to collect applicant demographic data so it’s a matter of risk tolerance.

If someone brings a discrimination charge against you, however, you’re going to have to show why your hiring decisions were non-discriminatory. Demographic data then becomes important for employers to have in order to defend themselves.

Editor’s note: Thanks Kate for your great advice! Employers should do their due diligence and work with vendors knowledgeable about HR compliance issues. Ultimately, the responsibility of being compliant lies with the employer.

A list of federal employment laws recruiters should know

  • Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA)
  • Uniform Guidelines for Employment Selection Procedures (Uniform Guidelines)
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
  • American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Affirmative Action Program (AAP)
  • EEO-1 Survey Filing (EEO-1)

Kate BischoffKate Bischoff employment lawyer is an enthusiastic management-side employment attorney, SHRM-SCP/SPHR-certified HR pro, and technology aficionado. Kate is passionate about improving company culture and using technology in the workplace.

Learn more about Kate and her services at tHRive Law & Consulting LLC.