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JOB APPLICANTS ARE PROTECTED AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

You may know that it is against the law for employers to discriminate against existing employees because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability.  But have you considered how the law applies to job applicants?

For example, did you know:

  • It is illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  For example, a help-wanted ad that seeks college students or recent college graduates may discourage people over 40 from applying and may violate the law.

  • It is also illegal for an employer to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  Therefore, an employer who recruits only at “all male” colleges may violate the law.

  • It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  For example, an employer may not refuse to give employment applications to people of a certain race.

  • An employer may not base hiring decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. 

  • If an employer requires job applicants to take a test, the test must be necessary and related to the job and the employer may not exclude people of a particular race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, or individuals with disabilities. In addition, the employer may not use a test that excludes applicants age 40 or older if the test is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.

  • If a job applicant with a disability needs an accommodation (such as a sign language interpreter) to apply for a job, the employer is required to provide the accommodation, so long as the accommodation does not cause the employer significant difficulty or expense. 

  • It is illegal for an employer, employment agency or union to take into account a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information when making decisions about job referrals. 

  • It is illegal for an employer to make decisions about job assignments and promotions based on an employee’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. For example, an employer may not give preference to employees of a certain race when making shift assignments and may not segregate employees of a particular national origin from other employees or from customers. 

  • It is illegal for a training or apprenticeship program to discriminate on the bases of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. For example, an employer may not deny training opportunities to African-American employees because of their race.

Finally, s a general rule, the information obtained and requested through the pre-employment process should be limited to those essential for determining if a person is qualified for the job; whereas, information regarding race, sex, national origin, age, and religion are irrelevant in such determinations.

Employers are explicitly prohibited from making pre-employment inquiries about disability.

 

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