Job interviews are daunting experiences for many people, and can be made worse when employers ask uncomfortable or potentially illegal questions. Some people might be asked illegal job interview questions that are discriminatory, and that is never acceptable.
- Age discrimination is a serious problem for some job seekers, and we have written about this issue extensively in prior blogs. Depending on the circumstances, employers might be violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by asking questions about age. The ADEA offers special protections to workers and applicants over the age of 40.
- Companies cannot discriminate against job seekers with a history of alcoholism or drug addiction. Some employers ask job seekers if they drink socially. Alcoholics, who may be incapable of drinking socially, have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act that might make such questions illegal. In addition, employers cannot ask job seekers if they have a history of drug use.
- Potential employers cannot ask job seekers where they are aligned politically. Attempting to exclude conservatives or liberals, Democrats or Republicans may go against protections offered under the Civil Service Reform Act.
- Some potential employers will ask job applicants if they have children. Expecting and current parents have protections under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- It is against the law for employers to ask about physical and mental health or disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects job seekers from discrimination. Asking about past or present illnesses might be against the law.
Workers Who Experience Job Interview Discrimination May Have Legal Options
Job seekers who feel they are being discriminated against might have legal options. One of the first steps job applicants should undertake is to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC may decide to carry out an investigation into discriminatory companies. If an investigation is not carried out, job seekers can still seek legal representation by contacting an employment law attorney.