Contrary to popular belief, job applicants are entitled to certain legal rights, even before they are hired. According to federal law, an employer or company cannot engage in discriminatory behavior during the hiring process. This means that an employer cannot use details such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or nationality to screen applicants or make decisions regarding employment. Employers are legally required to abide by this law, and if they do not, they can be subject to litigation. Before you apply for your next job, read the following information to learn more about your legal rights during the hiring process.
Illegal Interview Questions
During the interview process, there are certain questions that every employer should avoid asking. The overwhelming majority of these questions pertain to an applicant’s personal life, and they should not be asked under any circumstances. Federal law prohibits employers from asking the following questions regarding an applicant:
- Race, nationality, or ethnicity
- Family or marital status
- Age (unless the employer needs to hire a worker over the age of 18)
- Sexual orientation
- Religious beliefs
- Mental or physical disabilities
- Citizenship status
- History of alcohol and drug use
As an applicant, it is important to memorize this list. If questions regarding any of the issues above are raised during the interview or hiring process, you should instantly notify the proper authorities. It should be noted, however, that an employer can ask questions regarding the topics above, but only to the extent that they apply to the job. For example, if you are applying for a job that requires intense manual labor, an employer may ask if you will be able to physically perform the job without reasonable accommodation. In this case, you can inform the employer about any physical disabilities that you may be suffering from.
An employer usually must perform a variety of tasks before allowing an employee to officially start work. Some of these tasks include the following:
- Procuring a federal employment identification number from the prospective employee
- Registering with the state employment department in order to establish unemployment compensation taxes for the employee
- Arranging an employee’s pay system to withhold taxes
- Obtaining workers’ compensation insurance
- Creating an Illness and Prevention Plan for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Posting employment policies and notices in an easily observable area (required by the Department of Labor)
- Helping the new employee register for employee benefits
- Reporting unemployment tax information to the IRS
If an employer fails to complete these tasks, he or she may be subject to fines or lawsuits. Before a new employee begins work, employers should be sure that they have performed all of their necessary duties.
It is important for employers to avoid making promises to new employees during the hiring process. If an employer fails to live up to these promises, the employee may be able to sue him or her for breach of implied contract. For example, if an employer promises an employee that they will have the same health plan indefinitely but later decides to change plans, the employer can be sued for breaching an implied contract. If you wish to avoid this scenario, never speak in absolute terms, and make sure that your new hire understands that certain aspects of the job are subject to change.
Protection for New Employees
Laws protecting applicants exist to protect new employees and candidates from being exploited or mistreated by potential employers. Without these laws, some employers would engage in dishonest and discriminatory practices. Whether you are an employer or employee, it is important for you to understand your legal rights and what will be expected of you. By doing this, you can ensure that both parties benefit from the hiring process.
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.