Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Dec 23, 2013

EEOC permits “integrity tests” during hiring process


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued an Informal Discussion Letter  approving the practice of using “integrity tests” in hiring. While the letter isn’t legally binding, it can provide guidance on EEOC policy.

The letter describes an employer’s “integrity tests” as a series of questions used in the hiring process. In particular the questions involved: (1) Attitudes about taking an employer’s property without permission; and (2) An applicant’s current use of illegal drugs.

The EEOC previously had provided enforcement guidance regarding asking applicants about arrest and conviction records. It cautioned that applying uniform or blanket criminal history exclusions could violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. However, in this letter, the EEOC stated that the questions at issue were acceptable because they concerned only current illegal activity.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects drug addicts from discrimination, as long as they aren’t currently using illegal drugs. Here again, the employer’s questions were okay because they only inquired about current drug use. It is important to remember that questions about an applicant’s status as a recovered addict violate the ADA.

See Vigilant’s Legal Guide, “Arrest of an Off-Duty Employee: What to Do” (3265) for more information regarding the use of criminal background questions in hiring and ADA protections for recovered addicts.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.