When making hiring decisions, employers are not required to choose the most qualified person for the job. It is not illegal for a company to hire a person who has less experience or education than other applicants. However, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of age (40 or older), color, disability, national origin, race, religion and sex (including pregnancy).
How to Prove Hiring Discrimination
Discrimination in hiring is not the easiest claim to prove, but it is often evidenced by an employer’s refusal to simply provide employment applications to people in one of the protected categories noted above. Hiring discrimination can also be exhibited when an employer requires or requests that applicants provide information pertaining to a protected category, as well as public assistance, marital status, family status or other information intended to discover the protected characteristics of the applicant.
What Employers Should and Should Not Ask
As a general rule, the information requested and obtained through the hiring process should be limited to the essentials needed to determine if a person is qualified for the job. Conversely, information regarding protected classes should be irrelevant in determining qualifications and not used as part of the interview and hiring process. Many times employers can obtain this information indirectly by inquiring about organizations, clubs, societies and lodges that an applicant may be a member of, or by asking questions that indicate affiliation with a protected category. Both are illegal.
Employers are also prohibited from asking candidates, prior to making a job offer, about disabilities. If a job applicant with a disability needs an accommodation (such as a sign language interpreter) to interview for a job, the employer is required to provide the accommodation, as long as it does not cause the employer significant difficulty or expense.
Protect Your Employment Rights
Every job candidate deserves an equal opportunity to earn employment. If you have been discriminated against during the hiring process, contact Harman Law, PLLC to discuss your legal options.