Thursday, December 15, 2011

English-only Policy in the Workplace: Filing Complaint with California DFEH and EEOC

Employers doing business in California should be aware of the questions they cannot ask to applicants during hiring process. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), there are particular questions an employer cannot ask when interviewing a job applicant.

Inappropriate Questions during Hiring Process:

1. Do you have any disabling physical or mental condition that may prevent you from doing work duties?

This kind of question may be in violation of FEHA and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to the fact that it may discriminate applicants with disabilities.

2. Are you single or married?

Harmless it may seem, but this question may result into discriminatory employment reaction by the employer. Aside from the fact that marital status discrimination is against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, such question is also not relevant to learning an applicant’s skills or abilities.

3. Do your family members have history of having health complications?

Under Genetics Information Nondiscrimination Act, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees and applicants based on their family medical history and genetics, and such question may be in violation of the Act.

4. Do you belong to a particular to a particular ethnic group?

This question is in violation of Title VII with respect to anti-national origin discrimination clause. Furthermore, such question bears no relevance in knowing an applicant’s qualification.

5. Do you believe in God?

By asking this question, the employer may discriminate against an applicant based on his or her religion. Some employers ask this question because they want to know if the applicant observes religious holiday; however, such intention is unlawful under Title VII.

What Employers Need to Do

California employers need to respect the right of job applicants by avoiding asking discriminatory questions. Employers may consult with an expert workplace discrimination lawyer in order to learn the appropriate and inappropriate job interview questions.

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