Responding To Questions On Fitness
Limitations on Information
Employers face several restrictions regarding the information acceptable to gather during job interviews. Personal information such as sexual orientation, age, faith, and marital status legally should not play a role in the deliberation process, as equal opportunity to gain employment must persist. Furthermore, interviewers may not discriminate against job seekers possessing disabilities of any kind, which includes mental and physical handicaps. Therefore, interviewees may not inquire directly about physical ailments, weight, or any other such physical attributes to determine the abilities of an applicant.
Why Employers Ask
Bona Fide Occupational Qualification
Employers use questions, such as inquiring about the ability of an individual to lift and carry several pounds for several yards, to ensure applicants remain able to perform essential job duties. Such questions prove allowable under law due to bona fide occupational qualification, or BFOQ. BFOQ protects the rights of employers to ensure applicants possess the necessary qualifications to reasonably perform normal operations of jobs. A similar and acceptable question may entail employers requesting interviewees describe any required special accommodations. Applicants should always answer truthfully and ask for further explanation or details regarding specific responsibilities to confirm available work persists as a desirable fit for both interviewees and employers.
How to Respond if Unsure of Abilities
Job seekers weary of personal ability to lift and carry designated amounts should thoroughly research available work before submitting applications. Understanding necessary duties allows individuals to assess which jobs remain feasible before proceeding with the hiring process. Additionally, familiarity with job descriptions aids interviewees in dealing with potentially prejudiced questions. If specific phrasing feels obtrusive or discriminatory, applicants confident in abilities to perform job functions may assure employers the raised concern should not affect work.