Hiring decision not discriminatory due to knowledge that applicant is eligible for hiring incentive
In an informal discussion letter released on April 10, 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarifies that an employer’s knowledge that an applicant is eligible for a hiring incentive or working with an organization that assists such applicants does not make a decision to hire the applicant discriminatory.
Senior Attorney Advisor Kerry Leibig, in a letter dated February 29, 2012, responded to an inquiry as to whether it’s discriminatory for an employer to know before hiring an applicant that he or she is eligible for an incentive. The inquirer also wanted to know whether it’s discriminatory for employers to work with organizations which provide job placement and training to disadvantaged populations of individuals as a sourcing partner when they know that many of those individuals may qualify for incentives programs such as Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, or other cash incentives.
In response, Leibig, acknowledged the inquirer’s concern that considering and hiring such candidates might show favoritism toward them. However, Leibig wrote, “Knowing that an applicant is eligible for a hiring incentive and/or working with organizations that assist such applicants does not render a decision to hire the applicant discriminatory under EEO laws.”
The EEOC letter is not considered an official opinion of the commission; it is merely an informal discussion of issues.