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Interview questions that could constitute gender discrimination

As you run your Ohio business, you will likely need to hire new employees from time to time. You may dread the process because it can be time consuming, and you may also have to deal with interviewees who seem to simply waste your time. Still, you have a duty to find the right person for the job, even if it means hours of scrutiny over cover letters, resumes and interview answers.

Of course, during the course of finding the right person, you do not want to find yourself accused of unjustly ruling out a person. Even during the interview process, accusations of discrimination could come against you and your company. In particular, female prospective employees could make such claims if you ask inappropriate questions.

Gender and pregnancy discrimination

Unfortunately, many women do face discrimination in the workplace or during interview proceedings due to their gender, having kids, for being pregnant or planning to become pregnant. You certainly do not want to any job applicant to believe that she experienced discrimination for such reasons. In efforts to protect your company from accusations of discrimination, you may want to avoid the following questions during an interview:

  • Asking the applicant if she has children
  • Asking the applicant about her relationship status
  • Asking if her spouse works or what her spouse does for a living
  • Asking if the applicant plans to become pregnant or is pregnant
  • Asking if the applicant is taking birth control
  • Asking about child care arrangements for the applicant's children

Commonly, these and similar questions are only posed to female applicants and are used to determine whether the applicant may miss work due to pregnancy or child-care issues. When such factors play a role in the hiring process, claims of discrimination may be warranted due to protections under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Handling discrimination accusations

Even though you do your best to avoid discriminatory questions and make your hiring decisions based on qualifications, experience and overall suitability for the job, an applicant could still accuse you of gender or pregnancy discrimination. If so, you may want to explore your legal options for defending against such claims. You certainly want to protect your business and its reputation, and providing evidence that discrimination did not take place could help you with that protection.

As you contend with such difficulties, you may find it useful to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.

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