Workplace discrimination can occur at any point during the employment process, including while a potential job candidate is being interviewed. During an interview, questions pertaining to the applicant's race, religion, national origin and marital status are supposed to be off limits. However, a lot of employers in New York and around the country still ask these types of questions in order to get job candidates to reveal personal information that could affect hiring decisions.
Although it may not be illegal for an interviewer to ask certain questions of job applicants, leading questions related to things like race and religion could result in workplace discrimination claims. For example, an interviewer who asks what holidays a job candidate celebrates or whether they go to church may actually want to know what religion the job candidate practices so that they can discriminate against an employee who will require religious accommodations.
Another off-limits topic during a job interview is the job applicant's age. Although an employer is allowed to make sure that a job applicant is over 18, any other questions about age could lead to allegations of age discrimination. Some employers try to learn a job candidate's age without asking them outright by inquiring about when they graduated from high school. Asking about a job applicant's criminal background is also not permitted during the initial job interview.
A person who was turned down for a job after being asked many non-job related questions during an interview might want to talk to an attorney. If the job applicant was well qualified for the position that they applied for, they may have a case for filing an employment discrimination claim.