Interviewing applicants for an open position can be an exciting time for a hiring manager because you get to meet with several different people to determine who the best fit for the job is. There are many factors to take into consideration to figure out who is ideal, but one factor that should not matter at all is a person’s gender. As sad as it may be to realize, many women still face discrimination in the workplace. One place where discrimination can take place in the interview, and there are various questions that, as an employer, you are not allowed to ask. Make sure you do not infringe on a woman’s rights and ask one of the following illegal interview questions.
Laws in Place to Protect Women
A number of laws have been passed over the years to protect employees from experiencing workplace discrimination. Many of these relate to women. The primary protection is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is also the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against a job applicant on the basis that she is pregnant or may become pregnant. There is also the Family and Medical Leave Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against a woman because she has to take care of a newborn or other family member.
Illegal Questions to Ask
With the above mentioned laws in mind, there are certain questions you cannot ask. Many interviewers make the mistake of asking one of the following questions, and asking one of these can result in a lawsuit. Do not under any circumstances ask the following questions.
- What Is Your Marital Status? You are not allowed to inquire about whether a woman is single, married or divorced. This question poses additional problems because it could reveal confidential information about a person’s sexual orientation.
- Do You Have Any Children? Asking this question could make a woman uncomfortable because she might get concerned that she will be passed over for the job if she has kids to tend to.
- What Arrangements Do You Have for Childcare? Some employers want to ask this question because if a woman has children, they want to know that she will not be absent from the workplace often to care for them. However, it is off the table to ask.
- Are You Pregnant? / Do You Have Any Plans to Get Pregnant? You are required by law to give women who are pregnant and have recently given birth time off. You are not allowed to ask this question because it could come across as you are trying to avoid giving someone time off.
Acceptable Questions to Ask
It is likely that many employers who ask questions such as the ones given above have good or practical intentions. While you cannot ask a woman directly about her children or childcare arrangements, there are alternatives you can ask that would provide you with the information you are looking for.
- Are You Available to Work Weekends and Nights? Depending on the type of work your business does you may need the person to come in after normal business hours. This is a practical question because you are trying to determine if the applicant is available to work certain hours.
- Would You Be Available to Travel for Work? Again, the position may entail some travel, and you are in the right to see if the interviewee is available to travel.
These kinds of questions are okay to ask because they are directly related to the position at hand. Asking about a person’s children or marital status is not needed to know if she is qualified for the job, so they are illegal. The best policy is to avoid prying into a candidate’s private life and stick to responsibilities and skills that are actually needed for the job.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.