Illegal Interview Questions and Interview Discrimination
At a job interview, the job candidate and the prospective employer are there to talk about the job for which the candidate is applying, and it is possible to waste long hours on the Internet speculating about how to answer such vague interview questions as “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What is your greatest weakness?” and “Do you have any questions for me?” Somewhere between talking about the job duties and the work schedule, you will probably end up making small talk with your prospective employer, and this small talk could play a prominent role in whether the workplace gives you a good or bad vibe. If the interviewer seems creepy, it could be that the questions they are asking really are illegal and are a gateway to employment discrimination. If you interviewed for a job and think that discrimination is the reason that you did not get hired, contact a New Jersey employment discrimination lawyer.
Which Job Interview Questions Are Off Limits?
The law prohibits employers from basing hiring decisions on protected characteristics of a job candidate, such as race, age, gender, religion, or disability. In fact, interviewers should not even ask questions about protected characteristics during a job interview, because there is no way to separate the question from the hiring decision. These are some examples of interview questions that are off limits, because the only way a candidate can answer them is by giving information about a protected characteristic:
- Where were you born?
- Is that an Armenian (Korean, Somali, etc.) last name?
- Do you have children?
- Do you plan to become pregnant?
- Which holidays do you celebrate?
- What year did you graduate from high school?
It is acceptable for employers to test your language skills and physical fitness skills only as these relate to the job duties. The employer can only ask you to lift a 25-pound box if the job requires it. Likewise, the employer can test your reading or speaking skills in English or another language if the job description specifically requires a certain language proficiency level.
Disability Accommodations and the Job Interview Process
Federal and state employment laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities; an accommodation is reasonable if it does not cause undue financial hardship for the employer. The right to reasonable accommodations begins before the employee’s first day of work. If you will need an accommodation if hired, you have the right to access this accommodation during the hiring process, as well. In other words, if you will need to use a Braille keyboard and text-to-speech software at work, you also have the right to use it during pre-employment testing and during the onboarding and training process.
Contact a New Jersey Employment Lawyer About Job Interview Discrimination
An employment lawyer can help you if you have experienced job discrimination during the interview process or training before the job even began. Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber in Red Bank, Marlton, and Newark, New Jersey, to discuss your case.