Discriminatory Hiring Claims
I think I wasn't hired because I'm a woman, how do I prove it?
To prove a claim of discriminatory hiring, you must show all of the following:
The interviewer asked me some very personal questions. Is that legal?
It depends on why the interviewer is asking them. An interviewer may not ask you questions about your race, arrest record, credit record, religion, marital status, age, sex, pregnancy, height or weight unless they are related to the job for which you are being interviewed.
The interviewer stated that his customers would prefer to see a man to do this job rather than a woman. Is this a legal reason not to hire me?
The preferences of customers, co-workers, or employers by themselves never justify sex as a basis for an employer's decision to hire you. However, an employer may discriminate in hiring on the basis of sex is if sex is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). A BFOQ is an employment qualification that, although it may discriminate against women, is legally legitimate as long as it is reasonably necessary to the operation of the particular business.
Must I prove that I didn't get the job because of my sex, and not my qualifications? If so how?
Yes. You must show that you were qualified for a job in order to allege that you were discriminated against on the basis of sex when you did not get it. Once you show that you were qualified for the job, you will need to establish that you were treated differently than similarly situated male applicants. Missouri courts have recommended that you use statistics (demonstrating, for instance, that the number of qualified women who are hired is much lower than the number of men) to help make your case of discriminatory hiring practices.
What could my employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to their denials?
The employer may raise legitimate reasons for not hiring you, either by showing that sex is a BFOQ (that is, that being male is reasonably necessary to the particular business operation), or by offering some other nondiscriminatory reason. You, in turn, will need to show that the employer's stated reason is just a pretext -- or an excuse -- for discrimination.
Examples of how you can show pretext are by demonstrating (perhaps through statistics) that male applicants were given preference over equally qualified female applicants, and/or by showing prior discrimination in any past dealings you've had with the employer, if applicable.
Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?
Yes. You must sign and file a verified complaint in writing with the Missouri State Human Rights Commission ("the Commission") within one hundred eighty (180) days of the alleged act of discrimination. For more information, please see What Does the Law Say.
What options do I have if I my employer has fewer than 6 employees?
If your employer has fewer than six (6) employees you may not sue under the Missouri Human Rights Act. However, you may have other options. For more information, please see What Does the Law Say.
If I prove my hiring discrimination claim, what kind of remedies am I entitled to?
You may be entitled to injunctive relief or monetary damages. For more information, please see Remedies.
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