Job NewsThis is second part of my job interview tips series and this post will tackle about discriminations during the job application process, especially on the job interview portion.

If you read a Philippine newspaper jobs section, you will certainly find the following common job announcements:

Wanted Marketing Assistant:
Must be female not over 24 years old;
With Pleasing personality;
Chinese preferred;
Must be single.

Wanted Sales Representatives:
With pleasing personality and not over 26 years of age;
Must be willing to travel;
Must be single and no children;
Must be physically fit (with no disabilities);
Fluent in English.

It’s pathetic to read those kind of job advertisements. Yes, employers have the right to choose what kind of employees they want to hire, but there’s no point what makes a person older than 24 or not as pleasing as they perceived to be, could not get a job done. Unfortunately, it is prevalent in the Philippines and seems nobody, even the Government care to rectify this and make the whole employment arena an equal field for all. Even the Labor Code is not clear on this one.

In job interviews, I have seen and heard a lot of job interviewers asking the following questions:

  1. If an applicant has a boyfriend (common to female applicants and male job interviewers).
  2. If an applicant is married, asking how many children.
  3. If an applicant is a Roman Catholic or a Protestant or a Muslim.

The United States being sensitive against discrimination of all sorts, have clear guidelines against discriminating job seekers during the entire job application process, notably in the job interview phase. A nice article on steering clear from illegal job interview questions can be found at the TechRepublic blog.

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Among the questions considered illegal (as presented by Jody Gilbert, Senior Editor of the 10 Things section of TechRepublic blog) are as follows:

#1: Where were you born?

This question might seem like small talk as you get to know a person, but it could also be used to gather information illegally about the candidate’s national origin. Although it may seem more relevant, you should also avoid asking, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” You can ask whether a candidate is authorized to work in the United States, but avoid asking about citizenship.

#2: What is your native language?

Again, the problem is that this question could be used to determine national origin. You can ask whether the person knows a language if it is required for the job. For example, if job responsibilities include supporting Spanish-speaking customers, it’s fair to ask whether the candidate speaks Spanish.

#3: Are you married?

Here’s another question that would seem innocent in most settings, but definitely not in a job interview. Because you can’t discriminate on the basis of marital status, this question is off limits.

#4: Do you have children?

This might sound like small talk, too — an innocent question in most settings — but not in a job interview. It’s covered by a general prohibition about discrimination over parental status.

#5: Do you plan to get pregnant?

In the past, employers sometimes asked this question to weed out women who might take a maternity leave. It has always been rude coming from a casual acquaintance, and now it’s illegal as well.

#6: How old are you?

Some companies used to avoid hiring older workers for a variety of reasons, ranging from a fear of higher healthcare costs and absences to a social bias in favor of youth. But age discrimination is clearly illegal, and you should avoid this question. Don’t try to get the information by asking when the person graduated from college, either.

#7: Do you observe Yom Kippur?

You can’t discriminate on the basis of religion, so this question is illegal, as would be asking about Good Friday, Ramadan, or the Solstice. If you’re concerned about the candidate’s availability, you could ask whether he or she can work on holidays and weekends, but not about the observance of particular religious holidays.

#8: Do you have a disability or chronic illness?

This information is not supposed to be used as a factor in hiring, so the questions are illegal. If the job will require some specific physical tasks, such as installing cables in walls and ceilings, you may ask whether the person could perform those tasks with reasonable accommodation.

#9: Are you in the National Guard?

Although some managers may find it disruptive when employees leave for duty, it’s illegal to discriminate against someone because he or she belongs to the National Guard or a reserve unit.

#10: Do you smoke or use alcohol?

In general, you can’t discriminate on the basis of the use of a legal product when the employee is not on the premises and not on the job.

In the Philippines, it is unfortunate that there is actually no clear guideline or even a law similar to this one. Adding to the sad reality that a lot of Human Resource practitioners even lacked the right training and pro-active attitude towards a fair job application and interview process.

Equal job oppsTo protect and ensure every Filipino’s equal employment opportunity, it is high time our government, much more our Senators, should enact better laws rather than starting yet another time and money wasting Senate inquiry in aid of a legislation “d*ck sh*t“.

What do you think about this post? Your comments are greatly appreciated.