Warn managers about off-limits interview questions

Hiring managers need to know some interview questions are always off limits. As this recent case shows, even when a candidate is hired, a manager’s comments could still come back to bite the company.

A woman applied for a job as a sales representative. During her interview, she claimed, the hiring manager asked her about her plans for having children, saying the job would be “hard to do with a newborn.”

She replied that she didn’t plan to have any more children and was offered the job.

Several moths later, however, she was pregnant. She told the manager when she was due and asked for six to eight weeks of maternity leave. Allegedly, the boss responded angrily and said he’d have to check with the company’s owners.

After she didn’t hear back about the leave request for a few months, the employee brought it up again. Shortly after that, the company told her she was being laid off because of budget cuts.

The woman sued, claiming she was fired because she was pregnant.

The company tried to get the case tossed. It argued the decision was made by the company’s owners, who didn’t know at the time the employee had asked for maternity leave. Two other sales employees were laid off at the same time.

But the court didn’t buy it. The owners admitted the manager had significant input in deciding who was to be let go. And since he displayed his aversion to hiring a pregnant employee in the woman’s interview, there was enough evidence to show her pregnancy was the cause of her termination.

Cite: Johnson v. Proline Concrete Tools, Inc.

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