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Illegal Employment Interview Questions
We are in an economy where jobs are at a premium. There are too many people competing for too few jobs. This puts the employers in the driver’s seat. But whether you are on the West Coast or in New York, employment attorneys will tell you that this does not give the employers carte blanche in the way they treat job candidates. There are laws that apply to the hiring process. These laws range from conduct of the interviewer to the basis of the decision to hire; from questions that an interviewer cannot ask to what can be considered in a hiring decision.
How Can Job Interview Questions be Illegal?
Employers have broad latitude when it comes to the question they can ask a candidate during a job interview. However, starting in the 1960s, a series of federal employment laws have protected certain types of information. These laws shut down questions along the lines of race, religious beliefs, health, age, sexual orientation and marital status. In addition to federal law, New York State and local anti-discrimination laws lend additional protections to job candidates.
As objective as the law may try to be, New York employment attorneys will tell you that the law is far from perfect. Though an employer may not discriminate based on the color of your skin, they can discriminate based on the color of something like your tie or shoes. The employer cannot choose to hire or reject you on account of something like your religious beliefs, but they base their decision on your personality and disposition during the interview or even where you may have worked in the past. In other words, an employer can discriminate as long as they do not discriminate in an area where the law designates specific protections.
If You Have Been Discriminated Against, What Are Your Options?
So what do you do if you are asked legally out-of-bounds questions like – What is your age? Are you a Christian (Jew, Muslim, etc.) Are you planning to start a family? Are you disabled? One of your options is to tactfully point out to the interviewer that the question was illegal. Once the interviewer is alerted, assume that the ball is in the employer’s court. However, New York employment lawyers say that it is probably a good thing to know right up front that the company is not up to speed on employment issues or, worse yet, intentionally breaking the law. It is certainly an indication that something worse may be around the corner if you do get hired!
Another option is to go ahead and answer the illegal question. You can answer it honestly, if you believe it will not harm you in any way. A final option is to give a misleading answer if the question is clearly illegal. The employer can hardly justify condemning you for lying in response to a question that violates your civil rights. No matter what you decide to do, make sure you take not of what transpires and if you feel you were not hired on account of your response, or lack thereof, you may have a claim against them for discrimination.
Finally, you may find your best option is to contact New York employment attorneys, Valli Kane & Vagnini, LLP, for a free consultation to determine if you have been discriminated against and what your legal rights are.
Have You Been Discriminated Against at Work?
It is one thing to convince yourself that it was unjust that you lost your job. Self-justification is one of the strongest human drives. It is tough thing to admit that maybe your performance was not up to par. It is another thing to think that an employer fired you for illegal reasons such as discrimination.
A team of New York discrimination attorneys point out that if you were fired for illegal reasons, you may be able to sue the employer for compensation, for other related losses and to prevent them from doing this to other employees. These same New York discrimination attorneys say that employees need to learn their rights.
Know Your Rights
Under federal law and, as New York discrimination attorneys will inform you, under New York law, you cannot be terminated or suffer any adverse employment action because of race discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, disability discrimination, age discrimination, discrimination due to sexual orientation, discrimination due to gender or discrimination due to membership in any protected group. If you believe that you have been fired, demoted or overlooked for a promotion as a result of discrimination and you are in the area, contact New York discrimination attorneys to discuss you options.
Employers have been known to fire employees for simply mentioning perceived discrimination or complaining about discrimination. If an employer has done any of this, they have broken the law. Complaining about discrimination in the workplace is your right and should be able to talk about it without fear of being terminated.
If you have reported discrimination, threatening behavior or illegal behavior by your employer and have been fired or retaliated against, you may want to explore your legal options. If you are in the area, call you New York discrimination attorneys to schedule a consultation.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If you believe your employer illegally discriminated against you as an employee, you can proceed to bring charges against the employer without an attorney. The process is very involved. It can be confusing and quite overwhelming. You can be reasonably certain that when you bring charges, you will be confronted by the employer’s attorneys. Since the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the job discrimination laws, sometimes the person who brings the charge is under the mistaken impression that the EEOC is in their corner and will help them with their case. In fact, the EEOC’s job is to investigate the charge and be neutral in their finding of facts. It is wise to seek council. If you are in the area, contact your New York discrimination attorneys who can help you in drafting and submitting your discrimination charge.