Is Application Testing Discrimination Illegal?

Many applications for jobs now include some sort of standardized test that uses several questions and parameters to narrow down the pool of job seekers. Certain inflammatory questions found on hiring tests can be starting points for testing discrimination cases. A California food company, Leprino foods Co., was found to have discriminated against 253 Black, Latino, and Asian applicants. The company had to pay $550,000 and hire 13 of the rejected applicants. Test questions that are not relevant to job duties and place groups of people at a disadvantage fall under illegal hiring discrimination.

3 Examples of Discriminatory Hiring Questions

  • How old are you? Age discrimination is protected by law. Asking if an applicant is above the age of 18 is ok, but asking for your age specifics could be discriminatory.
  • Are you religious? Employees that are qualified and have answered this question could make a case against an employer if they are not selected for employment, or withheld from advancing within the company. Religious practices in the workplace are protected by law.
  • What is your race? This question is included on applications to track applicants to identify potential systemic hiring discrimination issues. However, questions that are targeted at a specific race and place minorities at a disadvantage from being hired are illegal, like what happened with Leprino Foods, Co.

Discrimination during hiring based on sex, race, age, disabilities, and sexual orientation is illegal. However, proving that an employer didn’t hire you for a specific reason is difficult. A Los Angeles employment attorney can help prove that a test you took or hiring question you answered stepped over the line.

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