How does an Arizona employer avoid discrimination claims in hiring practices?

There are many legal issues as an Arizona employer that you may never face.  Discrimination for hiring practices may be one of those issues. However, the threat of being sued based on discrimination in hiring practices can be eliminated almost entirely based on following a few important steps.

First, it is important to understand that there are two ways to discriminate against potential hires.  The first way is outright discrimination against someone because of their race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age (over 40), or disability.  The second way is called disparate impact discrimination. This is caused when an employer 1) implements hiring policies or tests that impact a protected class more than other classes, and 2) the policy or test is not job related or consistent with a business necessity.

For example, in South Carolina BMW recently agreed to pay $1.6 million dollars to rejected applicants because it implemented a background check policy that disparately impacted black candidates. The EEOC provided guidance in 2012 that background checks may cause unlawful discrimination.

So what can an employer do to avoid a claim for discrimination in their hiring practices?

  1. Create a culture of non-discrimination in hiring practices by having effective workplace policies and enforcement procedures in place.
  2. Create a list of job functions for any position that the company hopes to fill and look for candidates based on that position.
  3. Train individuals who are involved in the hiring process to not use biases as a reason for determining the ability of a job applicant.
  4. Review hiring policies or tests and determine if they are “job related and consistent with business necessity”.
  5. After completing step four, review the hiring policies or tests to determine if they are as narrow in scope as possible. (i.e.. If criminal background checks are necessary, then determine if you are looking just for certain crimes, conviction for crimes committed instead of arrests, how many years back would be relevant to your search, etc.)

Following these steps will assist an employer in avoiding the chance of being sued for discrimination in their hiring practices.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Avoid Discrimination Claims in Hiring Practices, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Employment Law Attorney Brad Gardner at  480.461.5323,  log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.