Faculty, staff, administrators, and career services professionals must navigate safely through the minefield of employment discrimination laws while providing opportunities, such as a career network and additional resources for students to access employment opportunities, says Shelly Kaplan, General Counsel at the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
In the roles of advisor, resource, reference, referral source, and job source, faculty members talk to employers, refer students, and give references. However, the legal and ethical issues surrounding faculty members' involvement in the student job search must be considered.
Career services should have the institution's legal counsel review how the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws impact the referral process. These laws guarantee the right of all persons to apply for and be evaluated for job opportunities (hire, promotion, and transfer) without regard to their race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, mental or physical disability, or veteran's status.
Employers, unions, and employment agencies must all comply with EEO laws. However, "employment agency" is defined as an individual or organization that regularly refers individuals for employment.
"Under the law, the definition is broader than you would normally consider," Kaplan says. "These are not just businesses that are referring students, but also individuals. This means you may not discriminate against any students in your referrals."
While Kaplan strongly discourages administration, faculty, and career services from selecting or referring specific students for employers to interview, those who do so should first discuss their referral practices with the legal counsel to ensure that they are referring students in a nondiscriminatory basis.
Ethics also play a part in the referral process. Kaplan cited NACE's Principles for Professional Conduct for ethical considerations. (Additional information can be found on the 'Faculty Guide' by NACE.
Kaplan said faculty referring students should notify students that have declared an interest in positions and encourage them to apply, post the position in their department and announce in their classes, advise those organizations that represent minority students of the job posting, provide reference—not selection, and partner with the university career center to provide full resources to students.
- Continue sharing job announcements in classrooms...but don't stop there!
- Post job announcements in department offices for greater student exposure.
- Remember to 'refer' students, not 'select' students for job openings.
- Always include Career Services: refer employers, job flyers, and other student employment issues to me,
Eric Hilden, Career Placement Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All employers can post their jobs for FREE using Gaucho Jobs, the official online student employment system.
- Please refer all employers to Gaucho Jobs and/or www.saddleback.edu/jobs for additional recruiting options.