Note to EEOC: Hiring for “cultural fit” is also frowned on by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries.
In Hiring in the Age of Ageism , the SHRM advises employers to “work to structure interviews around skill sets, rather than softer ‘fit’ factors that can be a cover for discrimination. ”
Note:A spokesperson for the EEOC on 2/7/18 announced the EEOC has adopted a procedure to review ethical complaints against the Agency staff. Gary J. Hozempa, a staff attorney in the EEOC Office of Legal Counsel, said he and his team are responsible for “considering ethics issues that arise in the workplace about EEOC employees.” He saId the current head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Carol R. Miaskoff, Associate Legal Counsel, is EEOC’s Designated Agency Ethics Official. PGB
Since EEOC decisions are secret, there is no way of telling how many older workers have had their age discrimination complaints dismissed on spurious and discriminatory grounds.
It came to light last fall that the EEOC upheld two rulings by its appellate division dismissing age discrimination complaints where the federal government ignored objective qualifications and used purely subjective criteria (i.e., cultural fit, poise) to make promotion and hiring decisions. The rulings contradict EEOC stated policy, EEOC rulings in race and sex discrimination cases, and settled federal case law. The rulings go beyond the EEOC’s generally dismissive treatment of age discrimination and reflect actual age bias.
Then it became apparent the EEOC is unaccountable to the public. The EEOC has no appeal process. There is no EEOC ombudsperson to investigate complaints against the agency. Incredibly, the EEOC even lacks a procedure for filing ethical complaints against the EEOC’s so-called “administrative judges.” The EEOC Office of Inspector General takes the position that it is not its job to investigate complaints related to EEOC rulings.
The AARP & EEOC declined to comment on the discriminatory rulings.
It’s your opportunity to demand that the EEOC properly enforce the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The Strategic Plan is a framework for the allocation of EEOC resources. You can be sure that employers and their advocates will weigh in.
In recent years, the EEOC has become a lap dog to corporate interests.
A main focus of the EEOC today is providing free mediation to resolve discrimination complaints. Mediation outcomes almost always favor the company – not clueless, unrepresented discrimination victims – while saving employers potentially millions of dollars. For good measure, the EEOC assures discriminatory employers anonymity so that workers back at the farm will remain ignorant.
The EEOC recently condoned a hiring manager’s selection of job candidates based upon “cultural fit,” despite the fact this concept is increasingly disfavored in the American business community.
According to a March 21, 2017 article at Forbes.com, The End of Cultural Fit, the concept of ‘cultural fit’ was once the bedrock of corporate recruiting but today is widely considered taboo because it is fraught with bias.
“In some organizations ‘culture fit’ has become a weaponized phrase that interviewers use as a blanket term to reject candidates that don’t match the hiring manager’s view of the ideal candidate; and as such, it has become the embodiment of unconscious bias. ” writes author Lars Schmidt.
Overwhelming research shows that hiring managers harbor implicit or subconscious bias, including irrational prejudice or harmful stereotypes.
“Most interviewers are more likely to hire people like themselves and discount those who are different. This type of thinking hinders diversity and leads to homogenous cultures,” writes Schmidt.
Memo to EEOC: Even Facebook prohibits the use of the term “cultural fit” in hiring because it invites bias.