How Important are Diplomas?

Do your job descriptions and job postings include a requirement for a high school diploma?

Most employers would answer this question in the affirmative.  But have you considered whether a diploma is truly required for the job, or whether the job could be performed by applicants without a diploma?

A recent letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sheds light on the EEOC’s interpretation of educational requirements.

Among other things, the letter states that employers shouldn’t list a high-school diploma as a job requirement if the job functions could be performed by applicants without one.

The EEOC letter reflects its focus on systemic discrimination, rather than just isolated civil-rights violations.

HR POINTER: While it’s unlikely that including education requirements in job descriptions and postings will become illegal, per se, the EEOC letter should cause companies to re-examine their educational requirements for positions.

To determine the necessity of a diploma, you should consider the following:

* Whether the educational requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity.

*Whether the diploma helps to indicate an applicant’s potential success or lack of success in the position.

*Whether the diploma is a true requirement and if so, then document the reasons why it is necessary for each job.

*Whether equivalent experience or specific skills rather than a diploma might fulfill the requirements for the position.

For guidance on job descriptions, please view our link below:

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