In the United States, employment should be based on character traits and ability to complete the job as required. Unfortunately, there are still some employers with biases or prejudice against people who are different from them. Luckily, there are federal and state laws that combat this prejudice and make it illegal for employers to practice discrimination in their hiring practices.
What Groups Are Protected?
Employers in Connecticut are not allowed to eliminate job candidates based on religion, sexual orientation, color, race, sex, national origin, or military status. Pregnancy, gender identity, and people with disabilities are also covered. The Civil Rights Act is a federal law that offers broad protection, while the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act are all federal laws with a narrower scope.
How Does Employer Discrimination Present Itself?
Employers violate an individual’s rights if they pass that person over for a position based on any of the above classifications. An employer can ask an applicant medical questions or to submit to a medical exam or request the applicant to identify a disability on her application; however, it may not expressly ask the applicant if she is disabled or the severity of her disability. The employer must ask these questions of every candidate, not just a particular applicant.
Another example arises when an employer asks for an applicant’s criminal record in the initial application. A “ban-the-box” law put into effect in Connecticut in January 2017 prohibits employers from asking for the arrest and conviction records of any applicant until further stages of the hiring process. Keep in mind that employers are still allowed to ask for that information during the interview or after providing the applicant with a conditional offer of employment.
Women are another group often discriminated against during the hiring process. Some employers desire a male image for their company or believe the job is too physical for a woman. They may refuse to let women apply for the job. Or perhaps the applicant was turned away due to her marital status or because she has children. Any of these situations constitute discrimination, but it can also be hard to prove in court sometimes. Monarch Law has handled many employment discrimination cases. We can help.
These are just a few examples of employment discrimination in the hiring process. If you have been the victim of discrimination – or you’re accused of discrimination or retaliation, then call our office to discuss the case and get guidance.