New Rules Incite Changes in Hospitality Recruiting
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August 20, 2013
The right staff is essential to the success of your hotel or restaurant, yet attracting, selecting and onboarding the best team members is often a complicated task. Not only must you worry about filling available positions quickly to avoid overburdening your current employees, but you must also navigate a treacherous path between due diligence and discrimination when evaluating each candidate. Thanks to new rules governing modern hiring practices, this path has become increasingly narrow. Stumble and you may face a lawsuit or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission violation.
New Rules for Job Postings
If your hotel or restaurant employs 15 or more workers, your hiring practices are subject to EEOC regulations. These include rules prohibiting discrimination against protected groups of job candidates. Whether you’re hiring a busser or a general manager, you cannot include wording within your job posting that states or implies exclusion of applicants based on race, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability, age or genetics. These rules are not new, but several states have recently enacted their own protections for a significant group—the unemployed. Depending on your establishment’s location, these new laws may prohibit you from including “currently employed” as a requirement for any advertised hospitality position.
New Rules for Job Applications
As a responsible hospitality employer, you want to ensure the safety of your current employees, restaurant patrons and hotel guests when hiring new workers. You also want to avoid the costly negligent hiring lawsuits that often arise from workplace violence incidents. If you’re like most other U.S. employers, you probably include a question on your hospitality job application asking candidates if they have a criminal record.
In some locations, this practice is no longer legal. In response to the ‘Ban the Box’ movement, several states and numerous cities have enacted new rules that prohibit employers from including questions about criminal background information on job applications. Because several successful lawsuits have proven the use of this data causes unfair discrimination against protected groups, the EEOC also advises against considering criminal history when making hiring decisions.
New Rules for Information Gathering
Hospitality means “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers” according to Dictionary.com. You want to hire hotel and restaurant employees who excel in this area—and you may be tempted to use information found online to help you do so. Google and social media searches can give you a sense of candidates’ personalities as well as how they conduct themselves in their personal lives.
Because you may also find pictures, posts, tweets and other statements that reveal their race, age, religion or medical conditions, gathering information about candidates online can leave you vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits. Some employers have gone as far as to require applicants to provide them with their social media passwords in an effort to avoid this. However, several states have recently enacted laws that make such requirements illegal. Similar legislation is pending in most U.S. locations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate within the hospitality industry is 10.7 percent. This is significantly higher than unemployment across all industries, which was 7.4 percent in July. While this indicates that finding a hospitality position may be more challenging for job seekers who face stiff competition for the best opportunities, the situation is beneficial for employers. You should find no shortage of candidates for your available hotel and restaurant jobs, and you can avoid lawsuits and EEOC violations when hiring the right ones if you change your processes to accommodate the new rules outlined above.
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