Interviewing is stressful enough without fielding questions that make you uncomfortable. If you are a job seeker, it is important to know what types of questions are illegal, and what you should do if they are asked.
During a job interview, potential employers are not allowed to discriminate against applicants based on race, gender, religion, or any other protected characteristic. Since most interviewers know better than to ask blatantly inappropriate questions that would reveal their bias, applicants have to be aware of what is allowed and what crosses the line.
For instance, many female job applicants face discrimination during their childbearing years. An employer may not want to hire a woman who has plans to get married and start a family within a few years after she is hired. Or, an employer may not want to hire a working mother who will need to leave frequently to care for young children.
It would be illegal to refuse to hire an applicant based on these criteria. A woman’s status as a mother or wife does not determine her ability to do the job, and refusing to hire her on those grounds would be pregnancy discrimination and gender discrimination.
Employers who want to avoid a gender discrimination lawsuit might approach the topic in a more roundabout way. For example, the interviewer may ask the woman if she is married, or ask her general questions about her family. While the interviewer could be just making conversation, he or she could also be attempting to get the applicant to disclose whether or not she has children or is planning to in the future.
If you are in an interview and the employer asks you a question which may reveal your race, age, religion, or other protected characteristic, you will generally have three options: Answer the question, refuse to answer the question, or redirect the conversation. If you are comfortable sharing information with a potential employer, then there may not be much harm in disclosing private information about yourself. However, if the interviewer’s questions make you uncomfortable, you are under no obligation to respond.
If you think the interviewer may be attempting to disqualify you based on your answers to these inappropriate or illegal questions, make sure to take note of the questions and your responses. If you believe that you are being discriminated against, contact an discrimination attorney in Stockton who can review your situation and advise you of your legal rights.
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