UGESP Series Post #1: Defining Employment Decisions and Selection Procedures Under UGESP

In our last set of blog posts, we promised a series of posts attending to specific compliance issues related to the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP). This is the first of what we hope will be an informative and useful set of UGESP-focused posts.

The definition of “employment decision” may not be as straight-forward as many compliance professionals might think. In our experience, many professionals define “employment decision” as a decision to hire or not hire somebody. The UGESP definition, in contrast, casts a much wider net, as it encompasses such practices as:

  • Hiring
  • Retention
  • Dismissal
  • Promotion
  • Demotion
  • Membership (for example, in a labor organization)
  • Referral
  • Licensing and certification
  • Selection for training or transfer
  • Transfer

Broadly speaking, employment decisions can be characterized as competitive processes in which individuals are afforded either a positive outcome (e.g., hired) or negative outcome (e.g., not hired). The selection systems used to make such decisions range from simple, single-step evaluations such as resume screens to collections of different stages, metrics, and decisions that are uniquely combined. The UGESP identify a number of employee selection procedures that could be challenged under a disparate impact theory, including evaluations based on:

  • Job requirements (physical, education, experience)
  • Application forms
  • Interviews
  • Performance tests
  • Paper and pencil tests
  • Performance in training programs or probationary periods

To the extent that employment decisions result in differential “pass/fail” ratios according to status protected under Title VII, validation evidence is required to support the “job relatedness” or “business necessity” of the selection procedure(s) used. Later posts will provide more detailed treatments of evaluating employment decisions and available validation strategies that are consistent with the UGESP.

by Kayo Sady, Ph.D., Consultant, Eric Dunleavy, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, and Mike Aamodt, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, DCI Consulting Group

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