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Can I Request College Transcripts from Job Applicant?

By June 10, 2011 February 19th, 2015 No Comments
Question: Can I ask applicants for their college transcripts? More…
Answer: Full Question:
We are considering entry level candidates who are recent college graduates with no applicable work experience. Are there any legal issues with asking them to present their college transcripts to get an understanding of their coursework prior to an offer being extended?

Response:
We are not aware of any law which would prohibit the employer from requiring candidates for employment to produce a college transcript in connection with applying for employment opportunities with the company, so long as the requirement is imposed on ALL candidates for the position and not just some of them to avoid potential discrimination concerns. If the employer chooses to seek college transcripts only from those applicants who have graduated college recently and do not have applicable work experience, it should specifically define the term “recent college graduate” and “no applicable work experience” and impose the requirement consistently and uniformly upon all candidates (regardless of age, which should not be a factor) who meet these definitions. While there is always a potential risk of an unlawful discrimination claim when an employer differentiates among hiring criteria for different candidates for the same job, if the basis for the distinction is something other than membership in a statutorily protected class, such as age (i.e., only those applicants who have graduated college in the two year period prior to applying for work must produce a transcript, for example), generally such “discriminatory” criteria may be defensible, though with different criteria the risk of a claim is still a possibility.

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