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4 Ways Discrimination Occurs During Job Interviews

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Do you suspect that you were subject to discrimination during an interview? Signs of discrimination can be obvious, but they're more likely to be subtle. Recognizing actionable discrimination within interviews is key, though, to pursuing a legitimate case and damages for the income you missed out on. To help you identify real discrimination in its many forms, here are four ways it may occur. 

1. Personal Questions. While an employer may ask certain personal questions, these cannot delve into areas of a candidate's life that aren't the legitimate business of the employer. For instance, the interviewer generally is not allowed to ask about your religious beliefs, holidays, marital status, child care arrangements, or plans for pregnancy — even if the interviewer purports that these could affect your work. 

2. Ratings of Protected Factors. Many employers use a sort of rating system to help weed through a large group of applications. They may give several elements a 'rating' which are added up in order to qualify for the next step. Ratings that weight toward discriminatory factors, though, are off limits. An interviewer might unlawfully rate items related to age, gender, or disability in a way so as to inhibit some from advancing. 

3. Unnecessary Limits. The desire to rule out certain protected groups can lead interviewers to set arbitrary limits. Requiring an advanced degree for a job that doesn't call for it is a common way to discriminate in favor of younger applicants. Similarly, dismissing someone who can't carry heavy loads when the job isn't actually dependent on this can be discriminatory toward disabled applicants. 

4. Leading Small Talk. While interviewers often know that they cannot come out and ask certain discriminatory questions, they may use 'small talk' to get information they aren't entitled to. The interviewer, for example, may casually discuss the picture of their kids on the desk and then lead you into talking about your own kids and home life. As a result, the unwitting interviewee may disclose private information the employer wouldn't otherwise learn. 

Today's employers are often very skilled at hiding discrimination within their organization. Because applicants often don't know how to spot it, employers may get away with illegal interview practices for some time. But when you know what to look for, you can help not only yourself but other employees by fighting the discrimination you've experienced.

Learn more about your particular case by consulting with an experienced employment lawyer in your state today.