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What questions may an employer ask during an interview?

Job hunting can feel like a brutal process these days, especially in highly competitive or over-saturated fields. In many cases, prospective employees' desire to secure a coveted job overrides their concerns of unfair treatment in the hiring process, especially regarding violations of employees' rights. Even if a company did not hire an applicant, it may still violate that person's rights in the interview process — and this may justify legal action.

Often, an employer crosses a boundary in the questions the interviewer asks prospective employees. If an employer asks a question that an applicant believes is inappropriate, it is possible that the interviewer is gauging the applicant's reaction to the question and may indicate deeper systemic issues within the company or organization.

Generally speaking, employers should avoid questions that have to do with the applicant's personal life rather than the assets he or she brings to the table. This includes avoiding questions about

  • Sexual identity or preferences
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Citizenship status
  • Presence of disability
  • Plans to have children or marry

If an employer asks you these questions, you may want to consult with a trusted legal resource to determine if you have a strong basis for an employee rights or discrimination claim. Not only is it important to push back against this behavior for the good of workers in all walks of life, it helps protect your own best interests and keeps unscrupulous employers in check.

Don't hesitate to take legal action to protect your own interests and rights if an interviewer ventures into territory that is inappropriate or too personal. A strong legal strategy may help you regain strong footing and do your part to keep the workplace safe and fair for all.

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