Companies ask about your ethnicity and gender demographic questions to see if their job listings are attracting diverse candidates and to help them build a workforce that fulfils both EEOC requirements and their own internal diversity goals.
Some companies may use this information from job applications to weed out applicants who do not meet the company’s diversity goals. In extreme cases, unethical managers may use the data to discriminate, which is against the law.
Should i put my race on a job application?
With so many companies requiring job applicants to fill out online employment applications, many other candidates are probably wondering the same thing.
I’ll start with the ethnicity question. Because it is illegal to discriminate against job applicants based on their race or gender under federal law, being asked to volunteer such information in a job application may appear strange. Companies, on the other hand, ask the questions in order to collect data for the government demonstrating that they are attempting to interview and hire diverse candidates.
If a company’s data-collection system is properly designed, these details are entered into a database used to track sources of diversity rather than to recruiters.
Because recruiters are not supposed to receive this information, it should not have an impact on your interview chances.
Many recruiters, on the other hand, can still detect your ethnicity and gender from other information you may voluntarily provide. For example, the college you attended or the organisations you’ve been a part of can be giveaways.
Companies Have Legal Requirements
The EEOC has specific rules for companies that hire 100 or more people. These rules include the practise of fair hiring, with specific guidelines outlining how this should be done.
The EEOC requires employers to give all job applicants a fair chance of being hired and to not discriminate against them based on their race, gender, age, or any other factor. The EEOC does not require employers to hire a certain number of women, African Americans, or Latino workers.
However, as companies grow in size, if they fail to hire minorities and women, the EEOC can compare candidates who were not hired to candidates who were and conclude that there is a pattern of discrimination. This may result in a fine being imposed on the company.
The EEOC states unequivocally that employers should not ask a few questions about a job applicant’s race unless they have a legitimate business reason to do so. The EEOC website has more information on how to protect your company in this situation. It explains when and how an employer can legally screen applicants based on race or ethnicity.
Companies Want to Be Fair
Successful companies do not hire unqualified or less qualified employees solely to meet quotas for gender, race, age, or other forms of diversity. Businesses, on the other hand, want to ensure that they are not discriminating, even if it is unintentionally. This could happen if the company continues to hire from within or uses networking recommendations that favour one or two demographics.
Asking about your ethnicity and gender on job applications allows the company to track how many different types of applicants they receive. This can assist them in rethinking where they advertise their openings and making an effort to reach a wider audience.
This not only gives the company access to a larger and better pool of candidates, but it can also help them meet their internal diversity goals as well as any government requirements. This does not imply that companies can use this data to give preference to a specific type of candidate; rather, it means that the company ensures it receives applications from a variety of demographic groups.
Government Reporting Requirements
Contractors who want to work with the government must pass a series of tests, including demonstrating that they practise fair hiring. According to Cangrade, a hiring-solutions provider, these businesses must provide records of their job applicants and employee hiring. This is especially true when a potential government vendor must adhere to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ guidelines.
Can you lie about your ethnicity?
Most job applications allow the applicant to choose whether or not to answer a race question. Employers, on the other hand, are not supposed to consider race when making hiring decisions. However, applications frequently include a standard statement stating that providing false information may result in termination if you are hired and the employer later discovers your deception. Terminating an employee for any reason can expose an employer to legal action; however, when race is involved, the situation becomes extremely complicated.
The Bottom Line
Companies cannot refuse a job because of someone’s race or gender, and they cannot offer a job because of someone’s race or gender. Companies can and should seek out a diverse applicant pool. It is perfectly legal for any business to attempt to do so, including by asking questions about your ethnicity and gender on job applications.
The company must be able to demonstrate why it is asking these questions, which usually necessitates tracking and analysing data.
If you see a job application race question and don’t have an option to say “I prefer not to answer,” you may have a legal case if you later feel discriminated against when you see who was hired and compare their skills to yours.