Arkansas Selection and Testing laws & HR compliance analysis

Arkansas Selection and Testing: What you need to know

The Arkansas Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender (includes pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), or sensory, physical, or mental disability. The Act applies to all employers with nine or more employees for 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or prior year (AR Code Sec. 16-123-101 et seq.).
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Religious discrimination. An employer can refuse to accommodate the religious practice of an employee or applicant if the accommodation would create an undue hardship on the employer's business (AR Code Sec. 16-123-103).
Age discrimination: public employers. Arkansas law prohibits public employers from discriminating on the basis of age (40 years and older), unless age constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ); i.e., an age limitation or qualification is necessary in order to perform the job in question (AR Code Sec. 21-3-201 et seq.).
Employers may generally use any professionally developed aptitude test when selecting employees provided the test is not designed, intended, or used to discriminate against a protected individual or class of individuals.
Employers should evaluate screening tests for discriminatory impact on protected groups. A federal circuit court ruled that an employer's physical strength test that consisted of lifting and carrying a 35-pound weight had an unlawful discriminatory impact on women (EEOC v. Dial Corp., 469 F.3d 735 (8th Cir. 2006)). Before the testing program began, nearly 50 percent of the employees hired to work in an entry-level department were women, but after testing began, the percentage dropped to below 10 percent. The employer claimed that the testing was a business necessity ...

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