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Interviewing Following Various Laws Including Discrimination

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Over the past several years, a number of laws and regulations have been enacted to eliminate discrimination in the workforce. In many instances, these laws have removed a number of barriers that many people have faced while seeking gainful employment.

This is not to say that discrimination in the workplace does not exist. Nor is it meant to infer that there is no discrimination present in the job search process. While most HR employment professionals are not prone to prejudice, there are some that are. Then again, there will be HR employment professionals that may accidentally ask barred questions when interviewing prospective new hires. In order to avoid such issues and accusations, it may be best to avoid asking questions that might be considered inappropriate or insensitive. Here is a brief look at common questions that human resources professionals must avoid asking:

Have you ever heard the old saying to always avoid discussions on politics and religion? Conventional wisdom here is that such topics bring out a lot of passionate responses from people. On a job interview, it is best to stay away from such topics and religion, in particular, needs to be avoided. Sadly, many people are discriminated against due to their religious convictions. While discrimination may not be an agenda item of someone that asks a question of a potential new hire's religion, it would not be out of the question that it may be taken as such. Why make such an error? Job human resource professionals need to stay as far away from such commentary as possible.

Similarly, it is wise to stay away from any questions regarding gender issues. This goes equal for men and women. Stay away from gender topics because they can easily be misconstrued and lead a company to a path of trouble.

This leads us into another area where interview questions should not venture: you do not want to discuss marital plans and family status. In prior decades, such questions were raised because it was (wrongly) assumed that once the person became wedded they might quit the job. Imagine filling jobs for HR and then the person quit. Upon quitting the jobs for HR, how would the person support him/herself? Logic never gets in the way of discriminatory thought! Avoid such questions. They are rather silly.

More ominous than silly is the notion that an employer should ask questions about planning a family or the number of children one may have. This is another throwback to prior decades when employers were allowed to make dismissive hiring decisions based on a woman's pregnancy status. Employers were commonly dismissive of giving a woman sick leave for a pregnancy. Such discriminations were later barred under federal law but people still do occasionally practice discrimination. Rather than fall into such a blame trap by accident, avoid asking questions that deal with the issue of pregnancy.

The bottom line here is unless the question has something to do with the performance of a job - don't ask it!
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