Scenario 1: Someone walks in to one of your locations and requests an application. The applicant has one arm. The manager doesn’t think there’s any way that someone with one arm can do the job. Can the manager tell the applicant not to waste time applying?
Scenario 2: Suppose that an applicant comes in, requests an application, and asks the manager for help filling it out. Can the manager tell the applicant that, if he can’t fill out the application, he won’t be able to do the job?
Scenario 3: An applicant for a retail position comes in wearing a hijab (a veil that covers the head and chest, traditionally worn by some Muslim women). The manager doesn’t know anything about the applicant’s religion, but doesn’t think your customers will be comfortable around a worker wearing a hijab. Can the manager tell the applicant that wearing a hijab violates the company’s dress code?
Scenario 4: You have two open positions. One in San Francisco and one in Sacramento. The best applicant for the one in SF is a man who negotiates the salary fairly aggressively. The best applicant in Sacramento is a woman who does not. You like them both. Can you pay the man more because he negotiated harder? Can you pay him more because he’ll be working in a location with a higher cost of living?
Of course, it’s not enough for human resource managers to know the answers. Your workers who handle job applications need to be trained on these issues, too. Is training expensive and time-consuming? Hardly, especially when you compare it to the cost in terms of time and money of getting sued.