7.8. Ethical Standards and Legal Issues

Ethics & Legalities: What are the strict ethical standards and legal issues that talent development professionals should consider when working with employees and organizations? What are the legal issues and their implications for training, learning, and performance at work? (AOE 7. Integrated Talent Management; 7.8. Ethical Standards and Legal Issues)

AOE 7. Integrated Talent Management; 7.8. Ethical Standards and Legal Issues

How are your employment practices (e.g. hiring, promotion, demotion, etc.) fair, legal, and just? FYI: This episode is US-centric and refers to talent management practices in the United States.

Learning Objective
: Identify and explain the implications of hiring or promotion decisions when using psychological and personality tests

Understanding the legal ramifications of all aspects of the talent management cycle ensures compliance with applicable local, regional, national, etc. regulations and laws. In the US, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the governing body that dispenses regulations to govern the hiring, promotion, and discharge of employees, as well as training guidance. The EEOC guidelines apply to tests and other selection process for hiring, promoting, or demoting employees, and also decisions for training, transfer, or any other impacts for employees.

READ: Equal Employment Opportunity https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/discrimination via US Department of Labor

Hiring Practices and Testing
If you have ever applied for a job, it often requires a number of application sections and online processes to submit your application and complete the job application process. In the United States, there are a number of layers as you enter into the job or candidate portal to complete a single job application. Beyond uploading your resume, CV, cover letter, etc. detailing your work experience, you might also be required to enter your work eligibility, age (above 18), accessibility needs or accommodations, non-compete disclosures, previous employment at the organization, and other related qualifications or certifications for a particular role. In the United states, the EEOC will also ask candidates questions about their gender, sexual orientation, military service, disability, and ethnic/racial backgrounds. 

Use of any testing in hiring , promotion or retention is an established practice. Tests must confirm that employer’s test criteria are directly related to job performance and not a protected group. These are guided by the EEOC regulations to ensure there is not discrimination in hiring. Other practical examples of this equal opportunity considerations look at the lawful selection of individuals to complete talent development programs, such as :
  • Required training prior to job entry
  • Selecting employees to attend internal and external programs
  • Using tests in training as measures of job performance and retention
  • Making job assignments based on performance in the training program
It is up to the organization, the employer, to bear the burden of proof to demonstrate specific requirements are based on job performance. US federal court will evaluate any job requirements for job relatedness through the human resource management and development cycle. More in AOE 6. Managing Learning Programs, Section 6.8.

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