Employment lawyers want you to know and recognize the signs of job interview discrimination.
Under the Human Rights Code (Code) and Canadian Human Rights Act, every Canadian has a right to equal treatment regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, disability, or marital status. Discrimination laws are enforced in all workplaces; unfortunately, discrimination during job interviews and hiring processes is still common. Job interviews are opportunities for employers and employees to get to know one another. During an interview, both sides ask questions to determine whether the employee has the necessary skills and experience to perform the job’s duties. Employment lawyers want employees and employers to understand which questions are appropriate and identify questions that may be discriminatory.
Questions an employer should NOT ask during an interview.
Questions that employer asks during an interview should be directly related to qualifications and job requirements. Employers should go through adequate training and education to avoid asking questions that violate the Code. Employment lawyers see many cases where improperly trained employers ask inappropriate questions even though they didn’t intend to be discriminatory.
Inappropriate questions include:
- Questions about age that are not directly related to job requirements that are outlined in the job description;
- Questions regarding nationality, place of birth/ethnic origin;
- Comments or questions about the employee’s name;
- Any questions about religion. If religious requirements are necessary, both parties should discuss this after an offer of employment;
- Questions related to a disability. If an applicant voluntarily discloses their disability, it’s reasonable to discuss necessary accommodations, but that should be the extent of questions asked;
- Inquiries about family, marital status, and pregnancy;
- Any other questions that relate to “protected grounds” under the Code.
In some instances, questions that you may perceive as discriminatory are necessary to ask due to bona fide occupational requirements. Generally, bona fide requirements are those that an employer deems essential to performing specific duties or serving a particular group or demographic. An employment lawyer’s advice to employers would ensure that these requirements are clearly defined and apply to all applicants.
How to identify job interview discrimination
The only way to take action against job interview discrimination is to identify it when it’s happening. Discrimination can present itself in the form of microaggressions and unprofessional commentary. Therefore, it’s imperative to pay attention to the employer’s questions and the language used in the job description. Job descriptions that express a preference for a specific age group, gender, or nationality can be examples of discriminatory language. Above all else, consider whether you feel uncomfortable in the interview. Suppose you think the employer is asking questions that overstep the boundaries of casual conversation and have no relation to your skills, education, and experience for the job. In that case, this could be a sign of job interview discrimination.
When to contact employment lawyers
Proving job interview discrimination can be difficult. If you were turned down for a position that you were qualified for and feel that discrimination may be the reason, it’s best to contact employment lawyers. Employment lawyers have plenty of experience with job interview discrimination – they can look at your evidence and case and advise you on the best actions to take.