How may an employer ensure that its application forms are not discriminatory?

Author: Melanie J. Perez-Vellios

There are several steps employers can take to ensure that application forms are not discriminatory. First, employers should avoid asking questions that may elicit information about a job applicant's age, race, national origin, religion, gender or other protected characteristics.

Next, information sought on the job application should focus on the essential functions of the position being filled, not on the individual characteristics of the person applying. For example, an appropriate question for a job requiring employees to work during some evenings would be, "Are you available to work at night if necessary?" A potentially inappropriate question would be, "Do you have reliable childcare when work in the evenings is necessary?"

Finally, employers should make job applications readily available to all applicants whether in hard copy form, electronically or both, so that all potential candidates can apply for the position.