There are both ethical and legal limitations to how an employer may treat their employees. Direct, indirect, and implied interactions are all actions subject to those limitations. Now, the exact legal specifics will vary depending on the concerned state but, today, we are going to discuss three specific actions no employer in the United States is allowed to take while interacting with their present employees or potential candidates.
If an employee gets hurt on the job, reports it, and then files a workers’ compensation claim, the employer is prohibited from taking any retaliatory action against that employee. As MN’s workplace discrimination lawyers at Mottaz & Sisk explain, plenty of employers do not abide by this law, which practically opens the company up for a direct lawsuit. This can be avoided by not taking illegal, discriminatory and retaliatory actions such as:
- Pressuring the employee to withdraw/reduce their claim
- Punishing the employee for filing the claim, or even just for reporting the injury
- Verbally, physically, or indirectly threatening/harassing the injured employee
- Suspending or firing the employee
- Cutting their pay and/or benefits
- Withholding their paychecks or delaying their due pay bumps and/or promotions
An employer can merit or hire an employee or potential candidate based on their academic qualifications, relevant experience, and job performance, but that is the extent of it. No employer in the US is allowed to discriminate for or against an employee, based on their age, gender, ethnicity, genetic info, political affiliations, or disability (as long as it doesn’t come in direct conflict with the job that they will be required to do) among other things.
Ask Irrelevant Questions
Under both federal and state laws, it is illegal for an employer to ask irrelevant personal questions to candidates during the hiring process. Unless it is directly relevant to the job’s exact requirements, common areas of questioning which an employer must avoid are:
- Racial and genetic information
- Family history
- Height, weight, and age-related information
- Financial information and status
- Religious beliefs and affiliations
- Marital status, relationship status, and parental status
- Citizenship status prior to making a job offer
- Gender identity, pregnancy status, and sexual orientation
- Medical history prior to making a job offer
- Obvious disabilities that are not in conflict with the work which they will have to do upon being hired
- Unobvious disabilities, prior to making a job offer
Exceptions can be made in some specific situations, provided that the job’s nature itself justifies the mandatory exception. For example, questions regarding a candidate’s height and weight will be considered relevant, if they are applying for any job which requires them to work onboard flights.
There are limits to how much weight a plane can carry safely, which further varies according to flight conditions, duration of the flight, the total passenger and cargo weight, etc. Also, passing drug tests and certain other relevant medical examinations is also a justified requirement that an employer can impose after they have officially made them an offer.