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Bruce, Caroline

Questions on a Job Application

Karen Black on CJOB radio had an interesting discussion going during her afternoon drive. It seems a lady had been asked on a job application whether or not she was married. What the job was, I don't know, but the lady, it seems, had been bothered by the question, and Karen, too, found the question objectionable.

So she brought the question to the people. How would we feel if, on a job application, we were asked whether or not we were married. I thought about it, and realized that I had no feelings either way. I didn't think it was a necessary question, but I also didn't see the harm in it. I predicted, quite accurately, it seems, that there would be a gender split here, that those objecting to the question would primarily be women and that those not objecting to it would primarily be men. Those who objected tended to object very strenuously, while those who didn't object tended to vary in opinion from indifference to one man who said that such objection had everything to do with feminism, an argument I didn't understand, let alone buy.

The host felt that it was a privacy issue. I'm not sure I buy this either, sicne one's marital status is, as far as I know, a matter of public record. I guess I don't see the big deal one way or another. If I were designing a job application question, I wouldn't put that question on it, whether or not such a question is legal; but if I were asked that question on a job application, I wouldn't think about it for a second, I'd just answer it.

Am I right? Is this a gender split? What think you?

Comments

marriage and jobs

My marriage status may be a matter of public record, but I would have serious reservations about a company wanting to know this on thier application? It implies that my marriage status is linked in thier mind to performance. Why else ask?
The problem is it would be almost impossible to proove discrimination. It wasn't so long ago that woman were told in no uncertain terms that if they were married, they couldn't work. Whose to say this company doesn't have some sort of divious internal policy that uses the question's data to make some sort of judgement. Totally inappropriate.

If you want the job, you answer.

This is an interesting one. Personally, I think it's totally irrelivant for an employer to need to know if I'm married or not, but you can't go making a big deal out of it. If you want the job, you answer. Nuff said! Smile.