How to Spot Religious Discrimination in a Job Interview

Did Religious Discrimination Ruin My Job Interview?

Photo of two individuals sitting across from each other during a job interview

A man from Menlo Park claims that he was asked inappropriate questions during a job interview in October 2017. The interviewer allegedly asked about the man’s religion and said that the interviewee could be a bad fit because he can’t drink due to his religion. The company culture at that business includes going out to drink with team members, but the interviewee said he was fine with the drinking. The man’s job application was later denied. Was he the victim of religious discrimination? Here’s how to identify if your interviewer is asking discriminatory questions.

  • Did the interviewer ask what religion you practice? Questions about which religion you practice are out-of-bounds when it comes to a job interview. The only exception to this rule is if you’re applying for a job with a religious association, institute or corporation. These businesses are exempt from Title VII laws because religious affiliation could be an actual job requirement for these organizations. If no such religious affiliation exists, then a potential employer shouldn’t ask you about your religion or religious beliefs.
  • Did the interviewer ask if religion was the reason you could not perform a duty or activity? This could be a sign the employer is trying to weed out members of certain religions. The hiring company should instead set out a job’s core duties and responsibilities. Then they should ask if you will be able to perform these required tasks. At this time, an interviewee can choose to reveal any conflicts with their religious practices and ask if accommodations can be made.

What Do I Do If I’m Asked a Question About My Religion During an Interview?

Though discrimination can be rampant in the hiring practices of some companies, inexperienced hiring staff may also ask inappropriate questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you’re asked a discriminatory question. The key is to remain polite and reassure the interviewer that you are the best applicant for the job.

However, if aspects of your religion continue to be a focus of a job interview, you should contact an employment law attorney immediately. At Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP, we are focused on the harassment, retaliation and discrimination issues that face California’s workforce. If you have questions about an incident during an interview, call (310) 499-0140.

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