Employers rely on job interviews to determine whether a candidate will serve as a good fit in a company role. These initial interviews are incredibly important for both the applicant and the hiring manager, as both individuals ask questions to decide whether experience and job tasks align. Interviews sometimes allow for personal questions, but many individuals do not know that employers sometimes illegally violate employment law by delving too deep into an applicant’s protected classes.
No employer has the authority to ask questions that would reveal your personal details. Though an interviewer may feel that they simply want to get to know you outside of your work responsibilities or experience, a very fine line exists that splits appropriate and inappropriate interview questions. If you feel that an interviewer has asked a question that could expose your personal details, you have the authority to politely decline to answer. Further, if you feel that an employer did not consider you after answering questions that revealed you fell into a protected class, you may have the opportunity to make a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with the help of an experienced attorney.
Inappropriate interview questions that may bring discrimination
You may know that the EEOC protects you from discriminatory acts against protected classes such as religion, age and race or color. A company cannot outright exclude you from the application consideration process, not hire you or treat you unfairly due to any of these identifiers.
Yet many individuals forget that an employer cannot treat you differently due to your protected classes even before you are potentially hired at a company. When conducting interviews, it is crucial that you recognize when an employer’s questions could reveal a personal detail because if you do not receive an offer for the position, you want to understand if a claim against the employer for discrimination would be appropriate.
Some examples of inappropriate questions during the interview process may include:
- What country are you from?
- How old are you?
- What year did you graduate from college?
- What is your race?
- Are you married?
- Are you planning on having children soon?
- Do you have children?
- Do you have a disability?
- What religion do you practice?
You have every right to offer any protected class details to your employer if you choose, but it becomes illegal when an employer asks questions specifically to determine your protected classes and uses this information to deny you employment.
No individual should feel discriminated against during the job application process. Interviews should not help an employer determine whether to hire you based on if you plan to have children, your religious affiliations or your age. Applications should outline your abilities and personality, and these elements alone should determine whether an employer should hire you.
Know that if you do face discrimination after a job interview, you may wish to document your experience and quickly speak with an employment rights attorney, so you can receive the help you need in fighting against discrimination.