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The Florida Bar

How to Avoid Legal Trouble during Job Interviews

Obviously job applicants have the right to both resist & appropriately complain against any such questions or inquiries during a job interview that may be considered discriminatory in nature. Florida discrimination law provides protection to job applicants and employees in such cases. However, employers are free to ask questions that are relevant to the nature of job, and not discriminatory against a particular group of people.

Potential legal troubles during job interviews may arise particularly when the interviews are unstructured and spontaneous in nature. Unwary employers can get caught on the wrong side of the law if their queries are considered prejudicial. Florida EEOC has provides detailed guidelines on what kind of questions employers may or may not ask during the selection process for a job.

Avoid Casual Talk

Florida employment attorneys usually advise employers who are their clients to avoid casual talks during job interviews as far as possible. A job interview is a formal process which must be carried out in a structured manner, or else it can lead to unnecessary questioning. For instance, a casual discussion during an interview about a female job applicant’s upcoming wedding may lead the employer to ask if she plans to have children. Later on, if the applicant is denied the job, it may give her cause to believe that she has been discriminated against on the basis of her gender.

EEOC Florida recommends against such line of questioning during interviews that is unrelated to the nature of job. Similarly, if during an interview discussion, the employer makes exceptionally optimistic forecasts about the company’s financial future, the job candidate may later sue the employer upon selection for misrepresentation of facts. Both employers and employees may approach employment lawyers Florida to defend their rights in such cases.

Thumb Rules for Employers

Three basic thumb rules can help employers stay within the limits prescribed under Florida discrimination law during job interviews. The first rule is that the employers must respect the right to privacy of a job applicant. The federal law and Florida labor laws do not impose this condition on employers explicitly, but the rules of etiquette demand a respect for an individual’s privacy. Following this rule can help an employer stay within the limits of the law during a job interview.

The second thumb rule is to refrain from asking anything during an interview that is prohibited under the law as a consideration to make an employment decision. For instance, since race and religion are disallowed under the law as decision making factors for employment, it is pointless to ask questions about the applicant’s religion or race. Florida labor attorneys can help employers draft their interview questions appropriately to stay within the confines of the law.

The third and final thumb rule is to refrain from making impossible promises during a job interview. A job applicant who accepts a job because of the exaggerated statements of an employer about the company’s future prospects may later sue the employer for fraud. Similarly, tall claims on the job security, work environment, and career growth which are difficult to fulfil later should be avoided during an interview. Lawyers for labor laws can offer legal advice to both employers and employees in such situations.

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