Can a potential employer ask about your sexual orientation?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2020 | Sexual Orientation Discrimination

If you identify as any type of sexual orientation under the umbrella of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender or queer community, then you may worry about how current employment laws could affect you. NPR noted recently that the Trump administration changed several laws concerning the LBGTQ population in America, including the announcement that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed into the U.S. military. If you are seeking employment, you may want to know about several laws that still protect your rights during the hiring process.

Employers who post available job positions cannot discourage you from applying based on your sexual orientation. For example, if an employer posts a job but tells one or more employees that he or she plans to hire someone in-house because that person is straight and they want to avoid hiring an LBGTQ individual, this practice would be considered illegal and discriminatory.

During the interview process, a prospective employer may ask you a variety of questions about your job skills, education and past employment. However, he or she may not ask you any questions about your sexual orientation or whether you are now a different gender than at birth. Any skill tests required during the hiring process cannot be phrased in a way that asks you to reveal your orientation, as doing so would be considered biased.

An amendment to The Civil Rights Act of 1964 included sexual orientation as a discriminatory marker in employment decisions; however, you may want to gain a firm understanding of these laws to protect yourself during a job search.