BE IN­TER­VIEW SAVVY

SI­LENCE MAY BE GOLDEN WHEN ASKED SOME IL­LE­GAL QUES­TIONS BY HIRERS

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

JOB in­ter­views are ideal for de­ter­min­ing whether a job­seeker and em­ployer are a good match but cer­tain ques­tions can­not legally be asked. Mc­Don­ald Murholme prin­ci­pal lawyer Trent Han­cock says re­cruiters’ and em­ploy­ers’ ques­tions should only re­late to a worker’s abil­ity to per­form in the po­si­tion.

He says ques­tions about demon­strat­ing char­ac­ter traits are per­mis­si­ble, how­ever, those seek­ing in­for­ma­tion be­yond what is rel­e­vant to the role are not.

“Sec­tion 107 of the Equal Op­por­tu­nity Act 2010 pro­vides that a per­son must not re­quest or re­quire an­other per­son to sup­ply in­for­ma­tion that could be used by the first per­son to form the ba­sis of dis­crim­i­na­tion against the other per­son,” Han­cock says.

“For ex­am­ple, a per­son should not be asked to sup­ply in­for­ma­tion around their age, gen­der, eth­nic­ity or sex­u­al­ity.

“The rea­son ques­tions re­lat­ing to these fac­tors are un­law­ful is for the sim­ple fact that these fac­tors are not rel­e­vant to an em­ployee’s abil­ity to per­form a job.”

An ex­cep­tion to this rule is in sec­tion 108 of the Act, which al­lows such in­for­ma­tion to be re­quested in an in­ter­view if it is rea­son­ably re­quired for a nondis­crim­i­na­tory pur­pose.

For ex­am­ple, if some­one is ap­ply­ing for a ware­house role that re­quires heavy lift­ing, an em­ployer can law­fully ask about phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity.

There are sim­ple steps a job­seeker can take to en­sure they are not caught out by an il­le­gal ques­tion dur­ing a job in­ter­view. BE PO­LITE if an in­ter­viewer steps out of line. “Po­litely de­cline to an­swer the ques­tion on the ba­sis that the an­swer is not rel­e­vant to your abil­ity to per­form the role,” Han­cock says. DE­TER­MINE REL­E­VANCE by ask­ing the em­ployer to ex­plain why they think the ques­tion is rel­e­vant. “If it’s gen­uine and rea­son­able, it will ren­der the ques­tion law­ful,” Han­cock says. STAND FIRM as job­seek­ers have the right to not an­swer a ques­tion on the ba­sis of po­ten­tial dis­crim­i­na­tion. CON­SIDER LE­GAL AC­TION if your an­swer to a ques­tion leads to dis­crim­i­na­tion. “It is un­law­ful for em­ploy­ers to dis­crim­i­nate against can­di­dates on the ba­sis of cer­tain at­tributes, and if they do, the can­di­date may be able to take le­gal ac­tion against them,” Han­cock says.

THIS AR­TI­CLE FIRST AP­PEARED ON SEEK CA­REER AD­VICE

Pic­ture: AAP/DEAN MARTIN

RIGHT AP­PROACH: Melissa Wil­liams says em­ploy­ers must use a trans­par­ent hir­ing process to avoid dis­crim­i­na­tion.

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