Honesty Testing and the Law: Employment Discrimination
Like any other selection procedure, honesty tests have a potential for discrimination in the employment process. If companies run the risk of legal action by using the tests, this is good reason for steering clear of honesty tests. We need, therefore, to take a close look at discrimination law, and how honesty tests fare relative to this law.
Hiring is the area of human resource activity that has experienced the greatest legal impact since the mid-1960s. Prior to the enactment of fair employment legislation, employers were largely free to select anyone they wanted as employees. Most legal influences on human resources involved the employment relationship with those already on the payroll. This situation changed drastically, however. The major influences came from laws (at the local, state, and federal levels) prohibiting discrimination in employment because of race, sex, or age.
There now are more than 25 federal laws and executive orders that speak to one aspect or another of equal employment opportunity. The first such statute was enacted by New York State in 1945, and over the next 20 years, half the other states followed suit. The biggest impetus to equal opportunity in employment, however, came with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of which prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law applies to employers, labor unions, and employment agencies. In the years during which this Civil Rights Act has been in operation, the number of complaints of job discrimination has grown steadily.
Title VII is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission