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Interview Case

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In the world of interviews there are many questions that can be asked. Some of these questions are illegal. Questions that ask a person's age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status or sexual orientation are all illegal and considered discriminatory when hiring for a job. Some questions are not meant to be discriminatory but the way they are asked makes them illegal. Interviewers must be careful of the questions they ask and how they ask them.

Some interview questions that are in danger of violating state and federal laws are:

How many children do you have? This question could be used to discriminate against women who have children and may miss work more often than someone who does not have kids. If I were asked this question I would probably play along and answer with a short polite response. I would then quickly shift the conversation back to the job being applied for.

What country are your parents from? This question could be used to discriminate against foreigners. A more appropriate question might be: Are you legal to work in the United States? I cannot see myself being asked a question like this. If I were asked a question such as this one I might respond with "I am legal to work in the United States."

Have you ever been arrested? This question holds the long ago past of the interviewee against them. Interviewers should ask about convictions of the interviewee, because this will show actual arrests with proven guilt. If I were asked if I had ever been arrested I would answer it as if they had asked if I had ever been convicted of a crime.

How old are you? This question can be directed towards people over 40 years of age and may deter older applicants. It may also be used towards younger applicants and can be considered discriminatory. If I were asked a question referring to my age I might answer jokingly with a response of "oh great you can't tell?" then move on with a different topic.

What religious holidays do you practice? Interviewers cannot discriminate based on a person's religion. An interviewer may ask this question to find any scheduling conflicts. This is an illegal question. The interviewer may ask if you are available to work certain days and times. If I were asked this question I would probably respond by saying that I don't let my personal and work life mix and that I will not have any scheduling conflicts.

Do you have any disabilities? This question covers many things ranging from physical to mental disabilities and cannot be asked during the interview. The manager may invite a voluntary response although it is not required to be answered. The manager may also ask if all the job duties and responsibilities will be able to be completed in a safe way. I would answer these questions with "I do not know of anything that would prevent me from do this job."

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