Is Your Hiring Inclusive?
By Lisa Maslove
Inclusive hiring has been in the spotlight recently with news of a class action lawsuit against Facebook. The claim has to do with employers posting jobs as Facebook Ads and alleges the “custom audience” feature encourages employers to target their ads at particular demographic groups in violation of human rights legislation.
It’s important for employers to make sure their hiring practices comply with human rights law. More broadly, in today’s active job market, it is to everyone’s benefit to make sure hiring practices are as inclusive as possible.
Often, this can be accomplished with general best practices. For example, being clear about exactly what tasks the new employee will be expected to do and what qualifications are necessary to be able to do them well. Once you are clear about the skills and attributes you are looking for, the rest of your hiring – the job ad, the interview questions, the scoring tool – flow from there.
Understandably, these issues can feel overwhelming for employers who don’t have an in-house HR department. But, help is out there, especially when it comes to accommodating applicants with disabilities. In Ontario, the AODA standards require that applicants are notified that accommodation for disability is available. Once a request for accommodation has been received, it’s a good idea to reach out to the agencies who offer advice in specific situations. One of the first you should contact is Accessibility Ontario, a full-suite organization for the private, public and non-profit sectors who offer training, webinars, workshops, and consulting services on all aspects of AODA compliance.
Online, you can review the AODA requirements for accessible workplaces, to identify which accomodations you are required to offer, based on the number of employees you have. For example, an applicant with a visual impairment may request large print documents and other visual aid tools in order to be successful (The CNIB offers an online shop, not to mention other resources, stocked with items that will make your workplace more accessible in this way). Or, an applicant with a speech or hearing impairment may request an accommodation be made wherein they may conduct an interview in a written format. The Conference Board of Canada is an excellent source of information overall, offering an employer’s comprehensive toolkit on inclusivity in the workplace. Of course it’s not realistic to anticipate or prepare for any request that *might* come in, but having an understanding of the legislation and knowing where to turn if your applicants do require accommodation will ensure that your recruitment process is inclusive and smooth for all involved.
The AODA impacts more than your hiring practices - if you are curious about whether you are in compliance head over to http://www.ontario.ca/page/accessibility-laws. For a detailed timeline, view: https://aoda.ca/accessible-service-requirements-in-ontario/ which breaks down the requirements for all organizations with 1 or more employees, covering the 5 principal areas of Customer Service, Information and Communications, Transportation, Design of Public Spaces, and Employment. A catalogue of free resources is available at: http://ontario.ca/accessibility.