Discrimination in the hiring process is illegal in Minnesota. Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prospective employers cannot discriminate against an applicant because of his or her race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
Nonetheless, discrimination can and does still occur during the hiring process. Such discrimination occurs when an employer does not hire an applicant because he or she is a member of a protected class. The prejudices of a hiring manager or employer can prevent all applicants from having a fair chance at a position, which can make job-hunting difficult.
Off-Limits Interview Questions
Generally, an employer cannot ask an applicant questions that will make he or she give answers about any protected class that the applicant belongs to. Questions about the applicant’s race, age, marital status, or any other protected class are generally not allowed. However, if the job the applicant is applying for has specific needs for age or physical ability, an employer may ask about those specific topics. Here are some questions for applicants to watch out for:
- “You speak with an accent, where are you from?” This question could make an applicant give information about his or her national origin or race, which are protected classes.
- “How old are you?” Age is a protected class.
- “Do you have a disability?” Disability is a protected class.
- “Are you married?” Marital status—if the applicant is single, married, or divorced—is a protected class.
- “Are you pregnant? Do you plan on starting a family soon?” Sex is a protected class.
- “How many children do you have? How old are your children?” Familial status is a protected class.
Addressing Employment Discrimination in the Hiring Process
Since most employers do not share specific reasons why an applicant was rejected, it can be difficult to know whether there has been discrimination against the applicant in the hiring process. Many employers will simply say they chose to move forward with another candidate or that the applicant was not the right fit for the position. However, if you believe you have been discriminated by a prospective employer because you are a member of a protected class, contact our Minnesota employment attorneys to discuss whether you may have a legal claim. Our workplace discrimination lawyers will diligently fight to ensure that your rights are protected.