Do Not Ask "Do You Like Boys or Girls" in a Job Interview

Gotham once again teaches a great legal lesson, this time with how to conduct a job interview. Fish Mooney separately interviewed two different female singers to perform in her nightclub. Fish bluntly asked each woman whether they like “boys or girls,” to which both answer “boys.” At that point, Fish asked each woman to “seduce her.”

There are questions you should not ask on a job interview. Sexual orientation is a big one. For example, California law states it is unlawful “for an employer, because of . . . religious creed . . . or sexual orientation of any person . . . to bar or to discharge the person from employment . . . or to discriminate against the person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.” Erdmann v. Tranquility Inc.,155 F. Supp. 2d 1152, 1159 (N.D. Cal.2001), citing Cal. Gov. Code § 12940.

New York has similar employment prohibitions:

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice:

For an employer or licensing agency, because of an individual’s age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or domestic violence victim status, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment such individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

NY CLS Exec § 296(1)(a)

Fish crossed a second interview “no no” in asking each women to seduce her as part of the interview. This easily could be found to be a “quid pro quo,” in that a sexual favor was asked in exchange for employment. This is a form of sexual harassment and is prohibited by law. Both women could demonstrate a claim of “quid pro quo,” because both suffered an adverse job consequence as a result of refusing the unwelcome sexual advances of a supervisor. Reed v. Hunt Corp., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20774 (S.D. Ind.Nov. 11, 2003). The “adverse job consequence” each suffered was not only NOT getting the position because of merit, but being asked to fight each other.

It should go without saying that even in a cutthroat job market, no prospective employer can ask job candidates to have a death match.  Moreover, even though this is Gotham, you cannot hire nightclub singers to seduce and kill someone. Questions relating to employment performance are fair game, but you cannot ask job candidates about their sexual orientation and then a seduction demonstration.

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Josh Gilliland

Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, the ABA Web 100 for Best Legal Blog and Podcast categories, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.