During an interview, an employer can bombard you with questions to find out more about you. Even though some are legitimate, others will appear banal, but are completely illegal.
What are these interview questions and how do we react to them if they are asked?
“Are you married, divorced, single?” Your personal life has no bearing on your professional skills and has nothing to do with your daily tasks. Furthermore, your answer can reveal your sexual orientation which is personal information. Respecting your private life is a fundamental right. So, this information remains confidential.
In the course of an interview, our desire to have children might be questioned. Interview questions especially posed to young women; the business wants to know if the future employee risks being absent on parental leave or for dozens of pediatric appointments. But, these questions are off limits due to the Charter of human rights and freedoms which clearly protects everybody against discriminatory treatment during hiring, without distinction (Art. 18.1).
Political or religious beliefs
Unless applying to be a political party candidate, collecting information on your political position is unlawful. It is strictly illegal to approach this private subject and you have no obligation to respond. This also applies to religious opinions. Your beliefs are personal and do not interfere with the qualities and aptitudes required for employment… unless you are applying to be a priest!
Even if asked indirectly, interview questions concerning age are considered illegal in an interview. “Are you at ease working with a young team?” An older candidate is sometimes asked this question. However, age should never be part of the discussion, unless required by law. Such a question’s intention during the selection process should be scrutinized because it is completely unrelated to performing tasks.
Ethical or national origin
Asking where you are from is an innocent question, especially if you have an accent. But, keep in mind; it is illegal because the question touches your ethnic or national origin. Employers cannot legally approach the topic of your nationality, but they can ask if you are authorized to work in certain countries.
Ignorance rather than spite
Often, employers ignorantly pose these questions. Especially in small businesses that do not human resource departments. So, the employer is often the one proceeding over the hiring process without necessarily having professional staffing qualifications.
Employer concerns also push them to ask these dubious questions. Diane Brunelle, director of the Centre de recherche d’emploi Côte-Des-Neiges, explains the procedure to follow in such situations. “The employer must be reassured against their doubts. For example, it is possible to reply ‘I can assure you that I am a dilligent person available for overtime.’ to the question ‘Do you have kids?’”
To file a complaint
Do you think you are a victim of discrimination during the hiring process? “Everyone who feels prejudiced against can file a complaint with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse.” concludes Brunelle.
Go to www.cdpdj.qc.ca for more information.