I am not a lawyer.
It is illegal for an employer to base a hiring decision on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. However, employers must verify that all employees are eligible to work in the United States.
If you are interviewing for a job and the employer asks you a question about one of those factors, you may find yourself in an awkward spot. You can always ask the interviewer what the question has to do with the qualifications of the job. You may also ask yourself whether you want to work for a company that would ask you any of those questions.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency that oversees employment discrimination. (1)
“The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.”
The guidelines from The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission specifically list the laws pertaining to the factors that are illegal requirements for consideration for employment. (2)
- “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;
- Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
- Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government;
- Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information about an applicant, employee, or former employee; and
- The Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.”
However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that all employers verify their employees’ legal status to work in the United States. The specific method of verification comes from the requirement of all employers to complete the following form for all of its employees. (3)
“Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers. NOTE: State agencies may use Form I-9. Also, some agricultural recruiters and referrers for a fee may be required to use Form I-9.”
DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney.
Image: Janet Lindenmuth/Flickr