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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12631
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Recently, I was in-line to get a VP of Sales job worth about

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Recently, I was in-line to get a VP of Sales job worth about $300,000 a year. My fiance and I had dinner with one of the Partners, he told me he saw no red flags and that things were going well. Going into the final interview I was told by the President of the company... "We would like to see your references" and "After this next interview, we will fly you to Charlotte and put an offer letter together.

I met with the Founder and during the interview itself, he asked me the following questions:

1. "How old are you?"
2. "I see you went to Serra High School." "Is that Catholic?"
3. "Are you Catholic?"
4. "Are you married?"
5. "Why did you get divorced?"
6. "Do you have any kids?"
7. "Why don't you have kids?"
8. "Where do you live?"

After the interview, I received an email stating that the company was no longer interested in me. I was shocked to say the least.

Do I have any legal recourse?
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service.

I am very sorry to hear that you were up for this promotion and were denied under such questionable circumstances.

As an employment attorney, I am very often presented with stories similar to yours, and what I can say is this: while a claim may very well exist on a purely technical level, from a practical standpoint it would be just about impossible to prove without additional evidence supporting discriminatory motives.

"Didn't get hired" cases are rarely successful because they tend to rely on mere speculation about the reasons for rejection of one's application. As a plaintiff bringing such a claim, you would bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that you were not hired because of your age (only 40 and older would entitle you to protection under the law), religion, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Although it is never advisable for an employer to ask the sort of questions that you were asked during a job interview (a big "no no," in fact, from a liability standpoint), merely asking those questions and then rejecting the applicant would almost certainly be insufficient to substantiate a claim.

More evidence would typically be required. Does the employer have a known tendency to discriminate against Catholics, or people above a certain age? Did anyone with hiring authority within the company make derogatory statements about Catholics indicating that someone's application could be rejected on that basis? Is there a lack persons sharing the protected characteristic that you believe was the basis for your rejection working at the company? Any of these things would provide additional evidence (if only circumstantial) that the true basis for rejecting your application was something illegal.

Absent discriminatory motives, employers retain absolute discretion to hire and fire employees as they see fit. As a plaintiff, you would bear the burden of proving that discriminatory motives were at play. Unless you can provide other supporting facts indicating discrimination, merely being asked about your religion, age, or marital status, despite being a hiring "no no" from a liability stand point, typically would be insufficient to substantiate a claim on its own.

If you believe that you have been the subject of unlawful discrimination and wishes to file a lawsuit must first file a formal complaint of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either the EEOC or the DFEH will issue an authorization to sue after they investigate the claim. A claimant need to file with both agencies. Finally, if an individual in your circumstance decides to sue, they must not miss their deadline. Under federal law in California, a claimant has 300 days from an act of discrimination to file a complaint.

For information on how to bring a claim through California's DFEH, visit this link: For information on how to bring a claim through the EEOC, visit this link:

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
In theory, I understand what you are saying, but there is more to my case.

1. I do know that the person interviewing me was Mormon, and I've been told that the officers of the company are also Mormon.
2. I have a witness who heard the entire interview because the conference room door was open, and he was sitting right out side of the conference room.
3. I have an email from the President acknowledging that he did make me a verbal job offer.

Given that everything was full steam ahead until I endured the last interview where I was asked all of those illegal questions, when you factor in (1-3) above, doesn't this strengthen my case?
"when you factor in (1-3) above, doesn't this strengthen my case?"

It absolutely does strengthen your case, and these are the kinds of additional evidence that I was trying to exlain one would typically need to prevail on this kind of claim.

Ultimately whether discriminatory motives were at play in the decision to reject your application is a "question of fact" for a jury to decide, but I can tell you that if I were on that jury, I would certainly be inclined to find in your favor.

I think it would be very wise for an individual in your circumstance to retain a local attorney to discuss the possibility of pursuing this matter through the EEOC, DFEH, and potentially civil court.

For attorney referrals, visit this link: or visit I particularly like Martin Dale because the site allows you to search attorneys by practice area and also provides attorney ratings.

When you contact the attorneys, ask if they offer free consultations. Most should, and this way you can get at least some feel for the attorney's expertise and enthusiasm for your particular case before you commit. Also, you will probably want an attorney who is willing to take your case on a contingency fee basis--this means that you won't have to pay for their services until you win, and if you don't win, you won't have to pay them any attorney fee.

Again, I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
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