Job interviews are difficult, high-stress situations. As an interviewee, you feel compelled to put your best foot forward and to appear helpful and forthcoming. You should remember, however, that your interviewer doesn’t have all the power during the job interview. You have rights. There are certain questions that your interviewer is legally barred from asking, and certain practices that the company cannot perform during the hiring process. Only by knowing your rights can you assert them.
Under federal law, employers cannot discriminate based on age, race, national origin, gender, pregnancy, disability or religion, and asking questions related to these topics is, with some exceptions, off-limits. Specifics include:
• Do you have children? Do you want children?
• Are you married?
• What country are you from?
• What religion do you practice?
• Are you gay?
• How old are you?
• Do you have any disabilities?
• Do you drink alcohol?
There are some exceptions to these restrictions. For example, employers can ask an applicant whether he or she is over the age of 18. Employers can also ask discriminatory questions if there is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) that makes the issue at hand a job requirement. Examples of this include asking about a pilot’s age to ensure he or she is below the mandatory retirement age and asking about a prospective teacher’s religious denomination when applying for a job at a private religious school.
Discrimination in job selection is a serious matter. If you believe you were denied a position due to your age, gender or any other protected reason, you have the right to pursue legal action against the company.
The attorneys at Tipp & Buley have extensive experience with a wide range of employment law matters. To schedule a one-on-one consultation at our Missoula law office, contact us online or call 406-389-4215. We look forward to protecting your rights.
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