iStock 852477922

New Jersey Hiring Discrimination

By Thomas McKinney

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, among other employment laws, protect New Jersey employees and prospective employees from employers discriminating on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and age, among other protected classes, in taking employment-related action. This means discriminating based on a person’s membership in a protected class when making hiring decisions is illegal.

New Jersey Hiring Discrimination

Looking for a job and going through the entire hiring process can be stressful. Trying to put your best foot forward to land a job can really bring the pressure. The last thing you should have to worry about is being discriminated against during this process. Unfortunately, it does happen. In fact, discrimination can happen at a number of different stages in the hiring process, but it can be tricky to identify.

Take interviewing, for example. Discrimination can occur during the interview phase of the hiring process. It can be difficult to tell it’s occurring, but being mindful of some of the telltale signs can be helpful. For instance, an interviewer deviating from questions that do not seem job related or unrelated to your job skills and qualifications can be a big red flag. Has the interviewer asked you a question that seems much too personal? This is another red flag.

It is illegal for an interviewer to ask a job applicant a question on the basis of a protected class during an interview. Some of the most seemingly innocent questions can actually be discriminatory in nature. For instance, asking an applicant whether they have kids and whether they plan to have any more kids can be a form of pregnancy discrimination. Questions about a person’s first language may be discrimination based on national origin. During the interview, be aware of these types of questions and any question that may make you uncomfortable, whether you are or are not aware of why the question makes you uncomfortable in the moment. You may also talk to other job applicants and others who have been interviewed. If you have been treated differently than other applicants, this can be another telltale sign of discrimination.

While identifying hiring discrimination can be tricky, proving hiring discrimination can be downright difficult. Proving hiring discrimination will require evidence supporting the assertion that you were treated different than another, similarly situated candidate based on your protected class status. In some cases, there may be direct evidence. This is often the best case scenario as directed evidence would be something like the interviewing openly admitting that you were treated differently during the hiring process due to your protected class status. More often than not, the evidence will be circumstantial. Circumstantial evidence would include any questions the interviewer asked you during the interview that was illegally discriminatory. It would also include proof that someone else was hired, but you had the same qualifications as them. Any evidence that the company had a history of discriminatory practices could also act as circumstantial evidence to support your discrimination claim.

Employment Law Attorneys

Did you experience an exceptionally uncomfortable interview process? You may have suffered from unlawful hiring discrimination. Talk to the team at Castronovo & McKinney about your options for legal redress. Contact us today.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.