The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Employment Tests and Selection Procedures

Employers often use tests and other selection procedures to screen applicants for hire and employees for promotion. There are many different types of tests and selection procedures, including cognitive tests, personality tests, medical examinations, credit checks, and criminal background checks.

The use of tests and other selection procedures can be a very effective means of determining which applicants or employees are most qualified for a particular job. However, use of these tools can violate the federal anti-discrimination laws if an employer intentionally uses them to discriminate based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or age (40 or older). Use of tests and other selection procedures can also violate the federal anti-discrimination laws if they disproportionately exclude people in a particular group by race, sex, or another covered basis, unless the employer can justify the test or procedure under the law.

On May 16, 2007, the EEOC held a public meeting on Employment Testing and Screening. Witnesses addressed legal issues related to the use of employment tests and other selection procedures. (To see the testimony of these witnesses, please see the EEOC’s website at http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/archive/5-16-07/index.html .)

This fact sheet provides technical assistance on some common issues relating to the federal anti-discrimination laws and the use of tests and other selection procedures in the employment process.

Background

Types of Employment Tests and Selection Procedures

Examples of employment tests and other selection procedures, many of which can be administered online, include the following:

Governing EEO Laws

Recent EEOC Litigation and Settlements

A number of recent EEOC enforcement actions illustrating basic EEO principles focus on testing.

Employer Best Practices for Testing and Selection


Footnote

1The Departments of Labor and Justice and the Office of Personnel Management (then called the Civil Service Commission) issued UGESP along with the EEOC.


This page was last modified on September 23, 2010.

Home Return to Home Page