Workplace discrimination is not just a possibility after an employer hires you. It can take place during your job search. You may even be a victim of discrimination during a job interview.
Unfortunately, many interviewers ask inappropriate questions due to prejudice. Here are some guidelines on what to do if you experience discrimination during the interview process.
Know what questions are illegal
It is unlawful for employers to ask candidates questions about the following:
- National origin
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- Pregnancy status
- Marital status
- Number of children
Knowing that these topics are off-limits will help you recognize when something illegal may be occurring during an interview. For example, if the interviewer asks, "What religion do you practice?" or "Are you a citizen of the U.S.?" you will now know that these are discriminatory questions.
What to do about illegal questions
Sometimes, it is not clear whether a question is illegal or asked with bad intent. For example, an interview may ask you if you have any kids simply to find something in common with you. If it seems like the interviewer is genuine and maybe naive about illegal questions, you may consider answering it in a way you feel comfortable.
Or you may ask the interviewer about the relevancy of the question. In some situations, you may want to inform the interviewer that you are under no obligation to answer wrongful questions. Ultimately, it is up to you how to respond to these questions.
Pursue legal recourse
If you believe you experienced discrimination during an interview, you may be able to take legal action. First, you should document all the details about the interview, including specific questions. Then, you and your attorney can decide what course of action is best. The next steps may include filing a claim with the EEOC or informing the supervisor about the discriminatory behavior.