Employers in New York and elsewhere in America need to be proactive in ensuring that their hiring policies comply with state and federal laws. In some cases, the appearance of discrimination during the hiring process may result in an investigation or lawsuit. There are several steps that companies can take to protect themselves against a discrimination claim. For example, businesses are encouraged to provide training classes for anyone who may be involved in interviewing or hiring job candidates.

An employer can also minimize its risk of an investigation or lawsuit by not engaging in friendly banter with a candidate before or after an interview. Ideally, any questions posed to a prospective employee will be focused solely on his or her credentials and how they relate to the open position. Furthermore, each candidate should be asked the same questions during their interviews.

Companies should make sure that their employment applications don’t require candidates to volunteer information that they are not legally required to provide. For example, it may be illegal to ask about a person’s criminal history or to run a background check prior to an initial interview. Any job description that a company issues should declare the organization to be an equal opportunity employer. Furthermore, it should outline the criteria a company would use when evaluating an applicant.

Individuals who are treated differently by employers because of their gender, national origin or religious beliefs may be victims of workplace discrimination. An attorney may be able to help a discrimination victim obtain compensation or, otherwise, hold a company responsible for its actions. Legal professionals may point to language in a job description or application as proof that a company violated state or federal employment laws. A workplace discrimination case may be resolved through litigation, mediation or arbitration.