Discrimination in the workplace doesn’t necessarily commence once you’re hired, as what employers say or inquire during a job interview can also constitute discrimination in many instances. The law provides safeguards against discriminatory actions. If an employer engages in discriminatory behavior at the outset of your employment, it’s probable that such behavior will persist even after you’re hired. Learn more about what you can do.
Interview questions that are discriminatory (and potentially illegal):
Employers used to believe they had the liberty to say and ask anything they pleased during an interview. Fortunately, that’s no longer acceptable, and now, we have the right to decline to answer sensitive and possibly illegal questions.
During job interviews, employers must be cautious about the questions they ask to avoid discriminatory practices. Some questions may be unlawful or discriminatory, such as those that involve an applicant’s age, gender, marital status, religion, race, or disability. These types of inquiries can be used to make employment decisions, and ask them during an interview could be viewed as discriminatory.
For example, questions like “How old are you?” or “Are you planning to start a family soon?” may be used to discriminate against older or female applicants. Questions like “What is your religion?” or “Are you a US citizen?” could be seen as discriminatory against certain religious groups or nationalities.
Fortunately, the law protects job seekers from such discriminatory practices. Candidates have the right to refuse to answer sensitive or potentially illegal questions during an interview. Additionally, if an employer asks such questions during an interview, it could be viewed as evidence of discriminatory practices if a hiring decision is made based on those questions.
Job seekers must be aware of their rights and understand what questions may be deemed discriminatory or unlawful during an interview. Employers must also take steps to ensure that their interview questions do not violate discrimination laws and are relevant to the position being filled.
If you find yourself facing discrimination during a job interview or in the workplace, it’s important to understand your legal rights and protections. You can explore the federal and state laws that are in place to safeguard against discriminatory employment practices, and take action if you feel your rights have been violated. By being aware of your rights and taking steps to fight back against discrimination, you can help create a more equitable and inclusive workplace for all.