If you have ever felt uncomfortable because of a question during a job interview or something that your boss asked while trying to make conversation, you are not alone. The truth is, some employers overstep personal boundaries that leave potential or current employees feeling less than respected.
Although violations of personal boundaries can certainly be unpleasant, there is more to consider in these types of situations than many people realize. If an employer’s question makes an employee uncomfortable because it seems too personal, there is a good chance it also goes against federal law and possibly state laws as well. Take a moment to think: Has an employer ever asked you these questions?
1. Are you married?
While this question might be one that you would ask a friend or social acquaintance, inquiries about relationship status are inappropriate at work. Furthermore, they are also illegal. Keep in mind, this means that your boss may not even ask for your preference of “Miss” or “Mrs.”
2. Do you have any disabilities?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, another question that employers may not ask is in regards to what disabilities you do or do not have. Additionally, the law requires employers to accommodate employees with disabilities unless they can prove it is too costly to do so.
3. What religion do you practice?
If your boss has ever asked you about your religious practices, this is another area that is legally protected and off-limits to employers. Again, this might be a common discussion topic when you are around friends, but work is not home when it comes to legalities.
Understanding the law can help you respond to uncomfortable situations at work. Do not be afraid to seek help if an employer violates your rights.