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Know Your Rights When Applying for Jobs (179 hits)

When you’re out trying to convince companies that you’re the one they need to hire, that can put you in a rather vulnerable position. While trying to impress interviewers, however, you don’t have to lie in order to protect yourself from unjust biases. Federal law dictates that there are certain things that a company cannot discriminate about, and even can’t legally ask about. Informing yourself of these rights can give you a greater sense of empowerment and help protect you from unfair hiring practices. Here are some of the legal rights that you’ll want to be aware of when applying for jobs.

No Questions about Home Life

While you’re free to share anything that you want with your potential future employer about your family, he or she should never ask you outright about the subject during a job interview. Asking you questions about marriage or divorce should never be done. It’s illegal for hiring managers to ask whether or not you have or plan to have children. You also shouldn’t be asked about childcare arrangements while you work if you have children. All of this falls under discrimination against gender, as women are more likely to be considered poor candidates for jobs when they have kids as opposed to men. Whether it’s true or not, a woman with a child in an employer’s eyes can mean an employee that needs lots of paid time off and is often distracted with home life. For this reason, it is completely illegal for them to ask about your personal and familial life, and you should never feel the need to offer that information, either.

Citizenship Status Shouldn’t Be Discussed

The hiring manager will want to know if you’re eligible to work in the U.S., but any other questions about your citizenship status are illegal. Questions about your national origin are also off-limits. Asking these types of questions could reinforce discriminating hiring practices that negatively affect immigrants. If you’re worried about not being hired because of your national origin or citizenship status, there are consulting firms that specialize in helping with job placement for underrepresented minorities. Be aware that questions about your religion are also illegal. If you are wearing a hijab, it is not their job to ask about it, and you are under no obligation to answer.

Soliciting s*xual Favors is Illegal

While companies are taking swift and decisive steps to end workplace s*xual harassment, the problem still exists. Some employers may try to take advantage of you if they believe that you’re in desperate need of a job. Even if they seem to say it as a joke, due to their position of authority, even a subtle suggestion that you can increase your chances of being hired by something like going out on a quick date or even doing a twirl for them is firmly labeled as solicitation or “quid pro quo” harassment and is completely illegal. If this ever happens to you in an interview, leave the situation immediately and contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to get help.

You Can Negotiate For Better Pay

Under current equal pay laws, employers are not allowed to do anything to discourage you from talking about how much you or other employees are paid. You are also legally permitted to ask for a raise and an increase of benefits without any risk to your status as an employee or even an applicant. It is encouraged by the government, in fact, that you negotiate with employers and potential employers to make sure that you are paid what you are worth. While your employer is not required to agree to your requests, they cannot in any way penalize you for asking.
Keeping your legal rights protected while looking for employment can help prevent you from becoming the victim of discrimination or other unlawful actions. You can always seek guidance from legal and employment consulting firms if you believe that you’ve been treated unfairly. The EEOC, as well, is a federal institution paid for by your taxes to protect you against unlawful hiring practices, so don’t be afraid to contact them when necessary.
Posted By: Hannah Whittenly
Wednesday, April 3rd 2019 at 3:26PM
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