Employment Law

Legal Rights During the Hiring Process

You may think you do not have legal rights until you are hired and have become an employee. But your legal rights actually start as a job applicant when you are going through the hiring process.

Are you looking for a job?

Job hunting can feel like a job. It comes with its own set of challenges along with a roller coaster of hopes and disappointments. That is why when you get excited about a prospect it can be easy to forget about your legal rights. 

You may think you do not have legal rights until you are hired and have become an employee. But your legal rights actually start as a job applicant when you are going through the hiring process. 

Here are a few rules and laws to make sure you understand.

Anti Discimination Laws

For instance, Federal Law specifies that you cannot be discriminated against for your religion, race, national origin, age, gender identity, sex, disability, pregnancy, or genetic information. 

These laws have to be abided from how ads are put out looking for applicants, not showing preferences, to how the interview process is conducted. You do not have to answer questions that are related to these areas of discrimination. However, if there is a legitimate occupational qualification needed, that you do not have, the potential employer does have the right to pass on you as a candidate. 

If a test is required for the job it must be based on required skills related to the work, not to discriminate against certain candidates due to race, sex, national origin, etc. 

Pay And Benefits

It is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against a potential employee by trying to pay less for the same work based on sex, religion, color, race, age, or national origin. Or by trying to give fewer benefits in the way of insurance, vacation time, sick days, access to overtime and overtime pay, and retirement benefits. 

Know what is fair pay. You may want to check with employees that have similar skills and experience to see what is the current going rate. 

Reasonable Accommodation

Federal laws require that employers be willing to give reasonable accommodations to potential employees for disabilities or religious beliefs and practices. A person with a disability is to be helped if needed during the application process along with reasonable adjustments being made once hired in order to help complete the job required. 

Reasonable adjustments are also to be made for employees to practice his or her religion and attend religious services. 

Implied Contract Law

An implied contract is a mutual agreement derived from actions and circumstances. In the hiring process this could be through a presumption of employment written or verbally agreed upon but without official documentation and it is still legally binding. 

This could also include signing employee paperwork in the hiring process or initial training. 

If you have signed documents and received an employment handbook only to be terminated before work began, you likely have rights and the employer will have to follow proper termination rules. 

Before Begining Work

There are also legal processes required from the employer before you begin work. This includes things like getting a federal identification number for each new hire from the Internal Revenue Service, setting up a payment system to withhold taxes for each employee, and meeting state requirements like registering with the state’s employment department so employees can obtain unemployment benefits if needed.

Depending on the work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may also have requirements for the employer. And the employer may need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. An employer is required to assist you in registering for employee benefits if needed. The Department of Labor has requirements for employers as well.

There are federal laws and also laws that vary by state for employers to follow throughout the hiring process so be sure to do some research and know your rights in the states where you are applying for work.

If you feel like your rights have been violated be sure to seek legal advice quickly. Happy job hunting.  


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