How gender discrimination may happen during a job interview

On behalf of Fox & Fox, S.C.

Gender discrimination is a far too prevalent occurrence in some workplaces. There are cases where a potential employer may discriminate against you as early as during the interview process. For example, the interviewer may believe a female is not assertive or strong enough for a role.

There are discriminatory questions that may alert you to this behavior from an interviewer. It is vital to know the types of bias to look out for and the next steps you may need to take.

The legality of asking certain questions

Asking invasive and personal questions during a job interview is not only highly inappropriate, but according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it may be evidence of intent to discriminate. Although employers may address some topics after hiring an applicant, the following are examples of questions to avoid asking during an interview:

  • If you are pregnant or plan to have children
  • If you currently have children
  • Your relationship or marital status
  • If you have childcare arrangements in place

Discriminatory reasons for asking

Interviewers may ask inappropriate questions to make assumptions about whether you are able to do the work or remain dedicated. For example, the interviewer may ask about your relationship status or plans for children because he or she assumes you may want to be a stay-at-home mom and will not remain with the company long-term. In other cases, the employer may want to avoid having to provide maternity leave or feel women with children will not put 100% into their work.

How to handle these situations

The reasons for an employer’s invasive questions may vary for a number of reasons; however, if you feel that a potential employer discriminated against you because of your gender, there is legal action you may take. You may need to discuss your situation with legal counsel to determine how you to move forward with a case.

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