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Workplace discrimination can occur during the hiring process

All over the Detroit region and other Michigan cities, more and more employees are standing up against workplace discrimination. This is a sign of growing awareness about these issues across the nation. However, it is crucial for workers to understand that discrimination can occur before employment even begins.

Employers must conduct the application and interview process without purposely or even accidentally singling out potential workers in a negative way. Protected categories for employees include race, religion, age, pregnancy and gender.

Employers cannot legally ask certain questions either during the interview process or on the job application. Examples of job application questions that may be indicators of workplace discrimination include the following.

  • Medical questions: Employers may not ask job applicants about a medical condition or if they have a disability.
  • Criminal background: Not all questions about a candidate's criminal history are prohibited. However, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) discourages employers from asking such questions unless they relate specifically to the job in question.
  • Graduation dates: Questions about when a candidate graduated from college or school could be a sign of possible age discrimination.
  • Questions about family: Examples of prohibited family questions include marital status, number of children and pregnancy.
  • Citizenship inquiries: To prevent workplace discrimination against legal immigrants, employers may not ask questions about an applicant's citizenship.

In many cases, employers may not mean any harm by asking questions like the ones above. However, to those concerned about discrimination, such questions may raise a lot of red flags. If you believe that you have been a victim of workplace discrimination during or after the hiring process, a legal professional can offer valuable guidance about what next steps you can take.

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