Legality and Compliance of PI Assessments

Read more about the compliance of PI assessments.

Assessments are often described as being “EEOC compliant” when they are developed using best practices. In truth, it is not possible for an assessment to be EEOC compliant. Here, we review the concept of EEOC compliance, as well as best practices for using assessments.

Are PI’s Assessments “EEOC Compliant”?

No. However, the EEOC does not have oversight on the construction or design of workplace assessments, nor do they certify or approve assessments. The EEOC’s oversight is on the application of assessments. They focus on (1) how assessments are used for employment decision making and (2) the extent to which the hiring process and any tests or assessments are fair to applicants. 

Specifically, the EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy status, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. The EEOC and its enforcement apply to all work situations including hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages, and benefits.

How do organizations achieve EEOC compliance?

Organizations are responsible for following the guidance of the EEOC which is outlined in the Uniform Guidelines on Employment Selection Procedures jointly issued by the EEOC, Office of Personnel Management, Department of Justice, Department of Treasury, and Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in 1978 (EEOC, 1978). 

What are the Uniform Guidelines?

The Uniform Guidelines are not legislation. Instead, they represent the federal position on preventing discrimination in the workplace. The Uniform Guidelines set the standards for the appropriate use of employment testing including:

  • The definition of discrimination in testing
  • Appropriate means for validating selection procedures which may be discriminatory
  • Methods for establishing or implementing cut-off scores
  • Documentation guidelines
  • The requirements necessary for employers to legally defend employment decisions based on selection procedures or the overall selection process

The Uniform Guidelines do not lay out any standards or professional guidelines for test construction itself.  Many people believe that tests themselves are “EEOC compliant,” but the Uniform Guidelines are specific to the use and impact of an assessment, not how assessments are built or designed.

Defensibility of PI Assessments

When someone asks about the defensibility of the PI assessments, they are generally referring to legal defensibility, which has different requirements by country. Regardless, PI assessments are built to be used for workplace decision-making, measure what they are intended to measure (construct validity), relate to job performance (criterion validity), and are stable and accurate enough for their intended purposes (reliability). The assessments’ development, design, and documentation follow industry best-practices, so they typically comply with most government bodies’ or work councils’ expectations for workforce assessments.*

*Reach out to your PI consultant for technical information about PI’s assessments.. Our technical manuals contain detailed overviews of our assessments’ history and design, as well as the research that has been conducted around their reliability, validity, and fairness in terms of its use in workforce decision-making.

The PI Behavioral Assessment

In the United States, the American Psychological Association (APA) does not certify or endorse any test as per their website; rather, they set the expectation that test developers will follow assessment development best practices.

The PI Behavioral Assessment has been reviewed by other researchers periodically over the course of the company’s history. In 2018, Form V of the PI Behavioral Assessment underwent successful certification review under the guidelines published by the EFPA. This included an in-depth look beyond the assessment’s psychometrics, with auditors reviewing the development process, fairness studies, assessment report design, norm structures, and more. The EFPA certification is PI’s largest and most advanced peer review to date. 

The PI Cognitive Assessment

The PI Cognitive Assessment underwent successful certification review under the guidelines published by the EFPA in 2020. 

Assessments reflect the notion “with great power comes great responsibility.”. Assessments like the PI Behavioral and Cognitive Assessments are well-designed psychometric assessments with a proven record for predicting job performance. They meet professional standards on validity, reliability, and overall test construction. They increase the objectivity of the hiring process and increase the chances of making better hires by providing additional data points to consider when making a hiring decision.

In addition, your typical legal counsel may not be familiar with the Uniform Guidelines and/or some of the steps discussed in this document designed to keep your company safe. An employment counsel is your best source to provide legal advice on selection processes.

References

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. (1978). Uniform guidelines on employment selection procedures (EEOC Publication No. 43 FR 38295, 38312, Aug. 25, 1978). Washington, DC: Government Publishing Office.
  • Schmidt, F.L., Oh, I.S., & Shaffer, J.A. (2016). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 100 years of research findings. Fox School of Business: Philadelphia, PA.
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