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You think compliance is what now?

“We need to hire a Latina woman for this position.”

Is this compliant?


But wait… the organization doesn’t have enough ethnic diversity, nor does it have enough women and needs more to meet the acceptable ratios. So, they need to hire a Latina woman to be compliant, right?


Compliance is ensuring all applicants are fairly and equally evaluated for a position, independent of their demographics.

Therefore, unless the position has a defendable requirement around being a “Latina woman” (such as an actress to play a mom of a Latino family), the goal of hiring for a specific demographic is NOT compliant.

Let’s try again…

“Find a non-white person to hire for this position.”

Is this compliant?


This approach still uses demographics as part of the selection process, and…

Compliance is ensuring all applicants are fairly and equally evaluated for a position, independent of their demographics.

Hiring or not hiring people based on their demographics (such as ‘quota’ initiative) is contrary to the law unless there is a very clear, very strong reason behind the decision – such as actors to play specific roles.

Looking behind the curtain of Compliance:

Contrary to many popular perceptions of compliance, compliance is NOT affirmative action, it’s NOT meeting complex percentage quotas for specific demographics, and it’s NOT targeting specific demographics because “we need more of them around here”.

The good news is that it is far simpler.

The Federal law is clear: it’s “illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.”

To enforce this law, enforcement entities like the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) use rules and guidelines to facilitate best practices and non-discriminatory practices. Unfortunately, many have adopted these guidelines at the expense of the rules.

For example, the EEOC four-fifth’s rule is a guideline that the EEOC uses to find potential evidence of discrimination. In this case, if the selection rate for a position of any protected demographic is less than 80% (or four fifths) of another, it could be a sign of discrimination. This rule is meant as a diagnostic tool, not as a law to dictate how many people of each demographic must be hired.

For example: if there is a position that requires routinely lifting over 100lb up multiple flights of stairs in order to perform the basic functions of the job, then more men will qualify than woman. Therefore, it’s not discrimination to hire more men, as long as women who meet the requirement are given the same opportunity as the men who meet the requirement.

The intersection of Compliance and Diversity.

Compliance is the act of not discriminating for any reason, which in some ways, sounds contrary to diversity, which is the act of hiring people that are distinctly different than those already employed.

But, they absolutely can, and do co-exist.

First, removing discriminatory practices will naturally increase diversity.

Second, when all else is equal within a group of qualified candidates, you can choose the candidate that will add new, fresh perspectives, and therefore increase diversity to the existing team. Just make sure it is the perspective that you want and not a demographic token.

Creating a compliant hiring program

There are many ways to create strong, compliant hiring programs, but they all share several key attributes:

  1. Pre-defined requirements for the job: clear, measurable, relevant.

  2. Defined, transparent process to effectively evaluate against those requirements (and nothing else).

  3. Clear reporting to prove the process was followed, and if not, to enable fast corrective action.

  4. Documented guidelines for how the hiring team is to conduct each step of the process.

  5. Consistent, continuous training for every participant to ensure guidelines are met.

You don’t have to do this alone, there are many consultants, organizations, and technologies that can help. Solutions that cover everything from hiding candidate information – (or completely removing it as we do at to curating standardized interview templates for every position. With the right process, augmented with the right technologies for your organization, a compliant hiring program won’t just be a way to appease your lawyers, it will produce amazing, consistent results that are great for business, the community, and the organization.

We at are here to help. Our solution prioritizes compliance and best practices at every step. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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