Friday, May 04, 2007

EEOC targets...personality tests?

So I'm looking at some information about the EEOC's new E-RACE Initiative, which they describe as a systemic effort designed to ensure workplaces are free from race and color discrimination, and I come across this quote:

"Studies reveal that some employers make selection decisions based on names, arrest and conviction records, employment and personality tests, and credit scores, all of which may disparately impact people of color."

The citations for this sentence include a study on criminal records and one on names.

This triggers a couple questions for me...

1) What is the difference between an "employment" test and a personality test? Is this just redundancy or was it intentional?

2) More importantly, where is the evidence that personality tests have disparate impact? The research I'm familiar with indicates that differences between subgroups are relatively small.

As far as I know, cognitive ability tests are still the biggest 'offender' when it comes to racial differences in test scores (although this can be reduced by focusing on aspects of cognitive ability, such as short-term memory). Seems like this is where the EEOC would want to focus, along with background checks?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Difference between an employment test and personality test can be something as simple as a weight test – Recently a company settled in regards to a weight test where women had to be able to lift 50lbs or more to get the job, but the problem was, that females were able to do the job well before the test was implemented.

Personality and employment Tests can have disparate impact when it touches information that is not Objective to the Basic Qualifications to the position.

Testing is not only a concern to the EEO, in fact Several states , quoted --- including Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, have severely restrict or outlaw various personality tests. Massachusetts, for example, prohibits employers from requiring an applicant to take a written examination to determine honesty – great site that has info regarding the legality of personality tests

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's general rule is that protected classes must pass an assessment at a rate that is at least four-fifths the pass rate of unprotected classes. For example, if eight out of 10 Caucasians pass a test compared with just five out of 10 African-Americans, then employers can be sued under the Civil Rights Act of 1964