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Discrimination During the Hiring Process


The contemporary society comprises a diverse mix of individuals characterized by different ethnic affiliation, race, religious views, color, and sex. These variations are caused by the intense movement of people from one country, region, or continent to the other in search for education, settlement and employment opportunities. Therefore, modern societies are characterized by diverse culture. In such a situation, employment opportunities may be affected by discrimination. Employment discrimination is illegal and extremely immoral; it violates social and human principles and values. It is described as the act of overlooking certain recruits during a job selection process based on their sex, color, race, ethnicity, marital status, disability, or religion. Despite ample criticism and venom being directed at such actions, discrimination during hiring process for employment is still practiced and is often overlooked by upper management of the hiring organization. The paper will delineate areas where discrimination is evidenced in the hiring process.

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Discrimination in the Employment Process

Employment discrimination is condemned in a number of legislative and regulations Acts, both by the Federal and State governments. In the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are cautioned of discriminating employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, disability, genetic information, or age. This opens employment opportunities to all with the only disqualifying factor being their qualification. It is heinous for an employer to argue that depending on the employees’ age, sex, religion, marriage factors, race, traits or disability, they are incapable or they are less competitive in comparison to those of the different face of the factor coin. Such stories are only based on myths, prejudice and stereotypical ideation that do not hold water. Violation of this act attracts penalties on those committing the crime. Violation of this Act attracts penalties on those committing the crime (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2009).

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) cautions employees against discrimination during the hiring process where employees are eliminated from the enrolment process judging by their age. Age is not incapability; as long as the person demonstrates his/her ability to tackle responsibilities and duties bestowed to certain positions, they should not be discriminated on age basis. The age factor, however, limits employees from employing minors. This is regarded as protection other than discrimination. Section 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects qualified people with disabilities from being discriminated from employment opportunities in the federal government (U.S EEOC, 2009).

Furthermore, title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers from using genetic composing as an argument of disqualifying any job applicant. These acts are further strengthened with the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which gives the discriminated person the power to claim monetary cover from the discriminative employer (U.S EEOC, 2009).

Ricci v. DeStefano is a good illustration of reverse discrimination where results aimed to be used for selection purpose are discarded for the purpose of favoring a certain group. In this case, individuals who may have qualified are edged out and those who achieved lower marks given an opportunity. Such actions result to unfair competition marred by discriminative acts (U.S. Department of Labor, 2013).

Interview Process and Discriminatory Factors

The interview process is another avenue that presents opportunities where employees may be discriminated even without their knowledge. Ideally, applicants undergo a process of isolation where they answer a number of questions, especially in a setting of a one-on-one encounter with the interviewer or the bench of interviewers. Some of the questions directed to the interviewee may be discriminative. Interviewees may fail to notice such hints or too frightened to identify such questions. Some of these questions are aimed at determining their religion, age, race, ethnicity or country of origin; then an employer may use them to disqualify one in a discriminative approach. Examples of these questions in a questionnaire include the following:

  1. What is your religion, Christian or others?
  2. State the country of origin: America or England?
  3. Are you Jewish, or African-American?
  4. State whether you have a disability or not; and Are you married or single?

These questions violate the federal law on equal employment opportunities in any given field of employment. Therefore, these questions need to be revised and phrased in a way that they will not violate the law of equal chances of employment. During an interview where an employer asks such questions, he/she may find himself in a critical situation especially when interviewing a person who understands the law and is ready to push for his/her rights. Employment firms need to identify such questions in their interview guidelines and restructure them with the aim of preventing violation of rules and regulations (Nittle, 2013).

Missouri Commission on Human Rights (2013) gives a comparison of what should not be asked based on the ability to violate the law on discrimination. Instead of asking about the region of birth, the interviewer may rephrase the question and ask the current address of the interviewee and any other alternative address. The two questions are intended to provide information on both the current and possibly family address. The first question seems like it is targeting discrimination while the second question is highly free from discrimination notions. The interviewer may ask the client whether they are comfortable performing duties and responsibilities attached to the job position. This seems a palatable question in legal terms compared to questions like “Do you have any disability?”, or “Do you suffer from any deformity?” These questions are aimed at determining the capability of the interviewee and the possibility of the interviewee being physically challenged. Another set of question may arise in the religion section. The interviewer may ask the applicant to express his concern regarding the number of days available for work as per the firm schedule. This way it would be easy to identify the religion depending on the days omitted. The converse of this question, which may indicate discrimination, would be directly asking applicants to name their religion or their religious holidays. Rephrased questions are highly acceptable in the legal framework, and seem to respect social values and ethics (Missouri Commision on Human Rights, 2013).

Case Studies and Real World Relevance

EEOC v. Carolina Freight Carriers Corp., 87 Civ.6322 (SD Fla. 1989) was a case where Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was the plaintiff and Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation being the defendant. The defendant was accused of violating several clauses of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after firing Rio Francisco after seeking court intervention of being discriminated on race bases. The employment policy used by the plaintiff (Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation) was also determined to contain discriminating chapters. For instance, the corporation discriminated against age by employing those above 21 years, and discarded those who had a criminal record or a dishonorable discharge from armed forces among others. Several other companies revised their employment policies after this case (Leagle.com, 2013).

Baker v. Emery Worldwide, 789 F. Supp.667 (WD PA. 1991) case involved Patricia A. Baker as the plaintiff and Emery Purolator being the defendant. Baker complained that the company eliminated her out of the selection despite having beaten most of the successful applicants in a grading system used by the company. This case was an eye opener to many employers to ensure use of a reliable and objective interview guideline. Though some of the claims of the plaintiff such as sex discrimination lacked adequate evidence, companies were cautious on using flawed interview processes (Leagle.com, 2013).


Many individuals believe that the modern society has far surpassed the days of discrimination. Contrary to this state of closed-minded thinking, discrimination during the hiring process occurs frequently. Many laws have been passed and implemented in order to mitigate such immoral practices, yet the vice still roams in the society diluting the strong values and principles in the societies.

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