Human Resources

Pre-employment assessments or tests: potential traps for the unwary employer

Some employers utilize a test or assessment tool in an attempt to predict how well an applicant might perform in an open position. Employers should be aware that there are a number of potential legal pitfalls surrounding the use of such tests, which are beyond the scope of this article.

However, one example is a 2015 case involving Target Corporation. Target was utilizing 3 pre-employment assessments. The EEOC found that 2 of the assessments resulted in unlawful discrimination because they disproportionately screened out applicants for exempt level professional positions based on race and sex. The EEOC found that the tests were not sufficiently job-related and consistent with business necessity. A third test, which was administered by psychologists, was found to be a pre-employment medical examination, prohibited by the ADA. Target chose to settle the case for $2.8 million.

The bottom line is that this is yet another area where a well-intentioned employer can run afoul of applicable employment law and wind up paying a significant amount for doing so. Our experts can assist you with proper employee onboarding policies and procedures.