When Recruiting, the Law, and COVID-19 Collide

The current pandemic has raised numerous legal questions and challenges when it comes to hiring. As we continue to tread through difficult and confusing times, it’s important to ensure that your recruitment practices remain both effective and compliant.

Recently, ERE legal columnist Kate Bischoff sat down with ERE editor Vadim Liberman for a Facebook Live discussion and Q&A to help you figure out what you can — and can’t — do to manage through this crisis. The range of questions, many of which came from the audience, included:

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  • Can an employer ask medical questions or for proof of COVID-19 status — of both candidate and household members — during the hiring process?
  • Should companies be doing temperature checks of candidates with whom they are meeting in person? 
  • Can an employer coronavirus-related criteria to determine who should and shouldn’t come in for an in-person interview?
  • What are companies permitted to do now that they weren’t previously when it comes to hiring?
  • Can you withdraw an offer if you need someone to start right away if that person comes down with COVID-19 after the offer has been accepted?
  • Can an employer devise COVID-19-related hiring criteria based on job duties? For instance, if certain jobs involve people being around coworkers more than other jobs
  • And what if such rules have adverse impact on certain protected classes?
  • Can you not hire someone who refuses to work onsite out of virus concerns?
  • What legal considerations should you consider when rehiring furloughed workers?

Click below to view the Facebook Live session for insights related to these and other questions:

Kate Bischoff, ERE's legal columnist, is an overly enthusiastic, sarcastic, and opinionated management-side employment attorney and human resources professional. She works closely with management, HR, and technology companies to improve organizations and make it easier to recruit and retain talent through easy-to-understand policies, easy-to-use technology, and easy-to-explain compliance initiatives.

Prior to starting her own business, Kate served as the HR officer for the Consulate General Jerusalem and U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia. Kate has also been recognized by The New York Times, CNN.com, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Public Radio, and other journalistic sources as a leading authority on harassment, technology in the workplace, and employment law.

Vadim Liberman is editor of ERE.net and TLNT (the devil wears TJ Maxx) — a workplace renegade advancing how we think, work, and live. He has previously worked as a strategy consultant to HR and recruiting tech companies at The Starr Conspiracy, as a talent management professional at Prudential, and as senior editor of The Conference Board Review, a magazine for business leaders. Vadim loves to talk about all things HR, talent acquisition, and Bravo TV shows. Bring it!