The US is a diverse country, and it becomes more and more of a melting pot every year. Immigrants arrive from all over the world all the time, whether they come as asylum seekers, economic migrants or as international students who ultimately stay. There’s even a visa lottery that brings 50,000 immigrants from dozens of countries to America every year!
With so much diversity, it’s reasonable to assume that at some point, you’re going to be dealing with hiring of someone from a difference ethnicity or religious group. Here’s what you need to know about employee screening of these candidates.
The Process Must Be the Same
If you are worried that you can’t subject someone to screening or background checks because they are from a different ethnic or religious group, or that you would be accused of discrimination, don’t be.
You are perfectly within your rights to screen all candidates within the bounds of the law, provided that you screen all candidates the same way.
If you were to subject ethnic candidates to a different process than US-born or Caucasian candidates, then you would absolutely be guilty of discrimination, but if everyone undergoes the identical process, then there’s nothing to worry about!
Candidates Must Consent to Employee Screening
If you are carrying out the same process for all applicants, then you are within your rights to conduct employee screening on candidates. Remember, however, as with any other type of screening, the candidate must be aware of the screening and they must consent in accordance with state and Federal law.
If candidates do object to employee screening, there may be grounds to cross them off your list of prospects.
Immigration Status Matters
One very important question you should be asking foreign applicants is what their immigration status is. While their religious beliefs or culture is not grounds to exclude them from the hiring process, their immigration status may be. If you are considering hiring foreign candidates, make sure that their paperwork is in order, because if you hire anyone who is not legally entitled to work in the US, you could find yourself in very hot water.
Relevance Is Everything
When it comes to screening candidates from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and religious groups, relevance is key.
In certain state or government positions, for instance, more rigorous background checks would be justified for non US-born candidates, but if the position is a lower level one in retail or hospitality, for instance, it wouldn’t. Likewise, religious beliefs don’t matter in administrative or financial positions, but if you’re hiring for a specific religious organization they might.
Be clear with candidates during the hiring process what you are screening for, and why, and how the results of those checks will be used to assess their application. Remember that it’s not illegal to ask about a candidate’s background and history, unless you single them out for discriminatory reasons.
If there’s any doubts about your hiring process, and whether you are operating within the bounds of the law, considering having a legal professional or employee screening company review your methods.