Practice Areas

How to Recruit for Diversity in a Lawful Manner

Employers who want to recruit for a more diverse workforce must do so carefully and in a manner that does not run afoul of the law.

For example, an employer cannot agree to only interview candidates with certain characteristics, such as transgender and gender non-conforming people.  Nor can it advertise that “only transgender and gender non-conforming people should apply” to the job opening.  What’s the problem with these methods?  While seemingly well-intentioned, these methods discriminate against anyone who isn’t transgender or gender non-conforming.

So what’s an employer to do when it wants to increase the ranks of transgender and gender non-conforming people (or any other category of individual) in its workplace?  One way is to recruit from sources where these diverse candidates congregate.  This can be a community organization, recruitment organization, training organization, university, or targeted career platform.  For example, there are targeted groups providing job referrals and career coaching for transgender and gender non-conforming people.  The more initiative an employer takes to find these channels, the more likely it is that its talent pools will reflect the diversity of candidates it is seeking.

Another way is for an employer to encourage its current employees to refer their diverse connections by creating an employee referral program.  An employee referral program is a recruiting strategy in which employers encourage current employees, through monetary rewards, to refer qualified candidates for jobs in their organizations.  (If the idea seems cost prohibitive, know that employee referral programs have the highest return on investment of all recruiting methods.)  In order to attract more diverse candidates, an employer can simply ask employees to make more diverse referrals to job openings, or an employer can offer a special reward (e.g., twice the usual referral bonus) for referrals from specific underrepresented groups.

Good luck with your recruiting efforts and, if in doubt about the lawfulness of your methods, be sure to seek employment law counsel first.

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