Sweaty palms… feeling the need to impress… red face… some or all of these symptoms? You must have an interview coming up, congratulations!! Interviewing is a skill you can practice and perfect! Download one of our handy tip sheets or read on for more information.
Illegal Questions – Some interview questions are out of bounds. The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on a protected ground in a protected social area. Employment is one of the protected social areas. The 15 prohibited grounds are: race, colour, ancestry, creed (religion), place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity), sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, disability and receipt of public assistance.
Some illegal questions are asked in ignorance of the code; other times the employer is aware but asks anyways. If you are asked a question that you feel is violating your rights you will need to make a decision about how to answer.
- You can refuse to answer the question. If refusing you should explain why (ie you don’t think that the question was appropriate/relevant to the work), this may bring a negative tone to the interview but doesn’t allow the employer to make a decision based on illegal grounds.
- You can choose to answer the question however you may never know what the “right” answer would be to an illegal question.
- You can reflect back to the employer that the area they have asked about will not affect your ability to do the job (ie. My family background will not have any impact on my ability to successfully complete this duties of the job).
Regardless of how you handle the question the Human Rights Legal Support Centre assists the public with human rights violations in Ontario. If you have more specific questions in regards to illegal questions you can also meet with one of our Career Educators.