Are Job Applicants Protected from Discrimination? | Bantle & Levy



Are Job Applicants Protected from Discrimination?

Applying for a new position is a nerve-wracking experience. Of course, job applicants worry about how their experience will fit the position they’re after. While you would want to be judged based on your professional background and skills when applying for jobs, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some might be the perfect fit for a position but are rejected not for their abilities, but for their membership in a protected class. Many know that as employees, they have rights while in the workplace, but do these rights extend to the hiring process for job applicants?

Knowing what your rights are in every aspect of employment is important to ensure that you know what treatment is fair. Learn more about what rights job applicants have.

Discrimination in the Hiring Process

Some might not think that their protection from employment discrimination begins until they’ve accepted a new position. However, you have rights even before then.

Employment discrimination is prohibited in every aspect of the employment process, including the hiring process. While federal laws prohibit discrimination based on a person’s membership in a protected class, New York State and New York City laws provide employees and job applicants with even more protection.

What Does Discrimination in the Hiring Process Look Like?

There are many discriminatory actions that can occur during the hiring process. For example, in some cases, a job posting can be discriminatory. This can deter some applicants from even applying if they feel unwanted due to their protected characteristics, even if this wasn’t the employer’s intention.

Examples of discriminatory language in job postings can include:

  • Language that favors younger employees, such as specifically stating that the employer is seeking recent college graduates or other terms that show a preference for younger applicants, such as “digital natives.”
  • Using pronouns for only one gender, such as “he” and “him” or gendered terms like “salesmen” could show a preference for male employees and discourage others from applying.
  • Requiring native English speakers when the job only necessitates fluency in English can prevent people with a different national origin from applying.
  • Using words like “strong,” “healthy,” and “able-bodied” rather than describing the physical tasks the job requires.

In some cases, excluding certain protected classes can be necessary when the employer has determined that it’s a bona fide occupational qualification. This means that a person’s protected characteristics “may be reasonably necessary to carrying out a particular job function in the normal operation of an employer’s business or enterprise.”

Some job applicants may experience discrimination in the interviewing portion of the application process. You would expect an interviewer to ask questions about your past career experiences and/or other questions about yourself to see if you’re the right fit.

However, some questions could be crossing the line and make you wonder if the information they’re asking is being used to discriminate against you. This can include questions such as asking when you intend to have children, where you were born, or how long before you plan to retire.

Protect Yourself from Discrimination with Bantle & Levy

All employees and job applicants should keep in mind that employment discrimination is illegal in every aspect of employment. Your career opportunities shouldn’t be based on your race, gender, age, or any other protected characteristics. At Bantle & Levy, we’ve represented many employees in New York City who have suffered due to employment discrimination.

Contact us today if you believe you’re being discriminated against in the workplace.

Bantle & Levy
Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


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