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Workplace discrimination can start during the interview

Some people in Idaho believe that they were discriminated against in the workplace before they were even hired. Job interview discrimination is a problem, but employers are usually careful with their words in order to avoid lawsuits. Employers will hardly ever tell job applicants that they weren’t hired because of their race, age, sexual orientation or national origin. Instead, they’ll just say, “You weren’t the right fit.”

Is discrimination at job interviews illegal?

In terms of discrimination, employment law treats the interview process just like any other aspect of employment. It is illegal to discriminate against job applicants for their personal characteristics that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job. Protected categories include:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Disability

Age discrimination laws protect all people age 40 and older. Sex discrimination laws include protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and pregnancy status.

How to spot discrimination at an interview

Employers are generally reluctant to ask too many personal questions at interviews because they are aware of discrimination laws. However, some employers will ask irrelevant questions, and their reaction to your answers can be telling. For example, if an employer stops an interview abruptly after you tell them you are hoping to start a family soon, this may be evidence of sex discrimination.

You do not have to answer all questions that are asked of you at an interview, particularly if the questions do not pertain to the job. Some lighthearted banter is normal, but when you feel that an interviewer’s questions are too intrusive, you may want to let them know that.

It is against the law to discriminate based on certain personal characteristics, so employers who violate this law can be held responsible. If you feel that you were a victim of job discrimination during an interview, a lawyer may be able to assist you in pursuing compensation.