Discriminatory Hiring Claims


I think I wasn't hired because I'm a woman, how do I prove it?


To prove a claim for discriminatory hiring, you must show all of the following:
(1) you are a member of a protected class (i.e., a woman);
(2) you applied for a job for which you were qualified;
(3) you were rejected despite your qualifications; and
(4) the job remained opened or was given to someone else with similar qualifications that was not female.


The interviewer asked me some very personal questions. Is that legal?


Under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA), it is not outright discrimination for an employer to ask you any questions on an application or during an interview in regards to a number of topics including your sex; however, answers to such question cannot be used to decide whom to hire.


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?


Unless being male is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), your sex should have no bearing on the employer's decision to hire you. A BFOQ is an employment qualification that, although may discriminate against women, is legally legitimate as long as it is reasonably necessary to the operation of the particular business. For example, being a male would be a necessary requirement for the job of a men's restroom attendant.


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 didn't get the job because you are a woman. You must show you were qualified for the job you applied for and were rejected despite your qualifications. If you can show a company pattern of discrimination in hiring, or a history of failing to hire women, then that can help show that you were not hired because of your sex rather than because you were not qualified.


What could my employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to their denials?


To deny your allegations of discrimination, your employer may offer a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for failing to hiring you. Ultimately, you must show that the reason given by your employer is pretextual and that discrimination was the true explanation for its failure to hire you.


Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?


Yes, you must file a claim with the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division within three hundred (300) days of the discriminatory action. For more information, please see What Does the Law Say?


Does it matter how many employees my employer has?


No, the WFEA applies to all employers regardless of the number of employees. For more information, please see What Does the Law Say?


If I prove my discriminatory hiring claim, what kind of remedies am I entitled to?


You may be entitled to injunctive or monetary relief. However, remedies vary from case to case. For more information, please see remedies



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