This past Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States decided upon a ruling that affects employers and their religious accommodations for employees, as well as applicants. In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Abercrombie & Fitch failed to accommodate a Muslim woman and her religious needs after deciding not to hire her because she wore a headscarf, also known as a hijab, to her interview—which went against Abercrombie & Fitch’s dress policy.
This ruling helps shed a light on the legal issues that surround the hiring process. Whether a company wants to or not, it must respect and attempt to meet the needs of those they are interviewing.
What does this ruling mean for employers?
According to an article from CNN:
"The significance of today's (Monday's) ruling is that an employer cannot put its head in the sand when it has reason to believe that an applicant will need a religious accommodation," said Gregory Lipper of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who joined a brief in favor of Elauf.
"It means that if an employer thinks a potential employee needs a religious accommodation, than the employer needs to make a reasonable effort to accommodate; it can't reject the applicant and then plead ignorance," he said.
How To Improve Your Hiring Process
Make sure your hiring managers are qualified—while this may seem obvious, it’s crucial to make sure your decision makers are highly qualified. Disability and religious accommodations, as well as other policies regulated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must be respected. All it takes is one slip up and your company can be dealing with a serious legal issue.
Keep track of your entire hiring process—document your interactions with applicants, everything from emails to candidate assessment test answers. Being able to visibly see how well a candidate scores during an interview with scorecards or having proof that the candidate you choose to hire is more qualified than the others can help keep you safe from legal troubles that may arise.
Don’t ask illegal interview questions—more often than not, hiring managers will ask illegal interview questions…without even knowing so! There are various questions you can’t ask a candidate during an interview, depending on several factors. Educating you and/or your hiring managers on appropriate interview questions is a simple way to avoid a serious mistake during the hiring process.
While the latest ruling by the Supreme Court doesn’t really rattle the way employers will hire in the future, it’s important to remember what you can and can’t do while hiring a potential employee. When it doubt, just be sure you don’t discriminate against those you’re interviewing; it’s that simple!
Want to learn more about what you should or shouldn’t ask a candidate during an interview? Download our complimentary white paper below to spruce up your interviewing knowledge!