Is this discrimination?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Teacherella, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    Jul 2, 2008

    This post relates to my last one (Why waste my time). Not only was my time wasted because there's no openings, but my mom and husband think I was discriminated against. They want me to write a letter to the interviewer's superior, but I don't want to burn any bridges. This is a private religious school (that's all I'll say) and I've always thought they were able to ask more personal questions, but I could be wrong.

    Anyway, the interviewer asked me many personal questions (ex: what my husband does for a living)...maybe one question about my job/teaching and that's it. Then, she mentioned that she noticed I had a speech issue. She wanted to know if it was just nerves or just a speech problem and if I had problems with my speech while teaching. I told her that I have a slight speech impediment due to my vocal cords "spazes" (called spasmodic dysphonia) and some stuttering because of it. This happens when my throat muscles tense up and it almost never happens when I'm teaching (because I'm comfortable then). Many people don't catch on to my speech impediment because it is very mild and it's basically just longer silent pauses, filler phrases "um" "you know" and they think I'm nervous or just thinking.

    Do you think what she asked was illegal and discriminatory?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Certain organizations are sometimes allowed to ask questions which would otherwise be inappropriate and illegal, particularly in regards to religious affiliation. I don't know whether this school qualifies as one of those exempt organizations or not.

    In no event would a question about your speech be appropriate or legal for an interview as a teacher. Your speech shouldn't affect how you would perform your job.

    I actually do believe that you might have been discriminated against in this situation. The problem for you is that I'm not sure you could prove it. If it were me, I'd consider sending a letter to the supervisor via an attorney. I wouldn't expect any change in the outcome of things, but I do feel like someone needs to be aware of what's going on.
     
  4. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    I don't want to make a big deal of it, but I do want the interviewer to know that it's illegal and inappropriate...and most importantly, very hurtful. I just wish there was a way to do that without my name being involved. I suppose I could always write an anonymous letter to her superior, but that probably won't help matters.
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Actually, the question is not discriminatory, because speaking in front of a class is an essential requirement of the position. It is not illegal to ask a question about whether or not you can meet an essential requirement for a job. She had every right to determine if you were able to meet that requirement. I worked as an advocate for disability rights when I first got out of college. We handled a lot of cases like this in mediation.

    Now, I totally agree there were better ways for her to determine that. I'm not saying she wasn't tactless and hurtful.

    Now asking what you husband did for a living is a TOTALLY inappropriate question during a formal interview. Even asking if you HAVE a husband is off limits during a professional job interview. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen every day, but it isn't related to the work.

    I'm sorry she was so tactless and hurtful. Being a person with a disability, I have faced this type of problem many times in my career -- I had one principal (in the district where I later got a job!) tell me that she didn't believe people with mobility disabilities had ANY right to be teaching -- because they weren't "up to the demanding job" and that there were too many "normal" people who needed jobs!

    I looked at it this way -- I knew I didn't wnat to work for this nutty woman!

    Now another principal (same district) had a totally different take on things (my disability is VERY obvious -- so I always mention in interviews that despite the fact I have this disability, I am more than able to do all of the essential functions of the job, and I more than make up for the few things I can't do with other talents). His comment to me was "What a great role model you could be to our students!"

    Now there was a man I wanted to work for! I got the job, and I'm very happy.
     
  6. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV, but -- I really don't think it was discriminatory or that the interviewer intentionally meant to be unkind.

    I did a google search and did find this:
    http://galtglobalreview.com/business/consistency.html
    Paragraphs six and seven contain info relevant to your question.

    I am so sorry you were made so uncomfortable in the interview. It's bad enough even they go out of their way to make us feel at ease!
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I completely agree with rainstorm. Look at it through the lens of "why would I want to work with somebody so tactless and insensitive" and you'll probably feel better about not getting that job. The right job is out there, you just have to find it...easier said than done, I know.
     
  8. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    I figured that it wasn't discriminatory because speaking is a huge part of teaching. Honestly, I don't think I could have convinced her that I don't struggle with my speech while teaching. She probably already made an assumption that my speech carries over into any situation...no matter what I said to try and convince her otherwise. I definitely don't want to work for someone like that!
     
  9. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Consider yourself fortunate that you do not have to work in this situation.I don't think you have a case as speech is very important in teaching and of course she will claim she only was concerned with the children being able to understand you.She could also claim ,she only asked about you husband because she wanted to make sure he was not in a profession that might require you to leave your job with very little notice. Move on and good luck with your search.
     
  10. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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  11. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    I don't think she would have a case with the children not being able to understand me. I'm very clear when I speak, but sometimes I stutter...nothing prolonged with words...just an extra few seconds here and there of silence. I wasn't planning on doing anything about this - even though my husband wants me to write a letter to her and her superior. Although I'll make it a point to never work there, I feel like that would just burn bridges. You never know who she knows!
     
  12. succeed

    succeed Rookie

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    WELL......... I don't know about the law over there, but I don't think that is allowed even in Texas. ;0 Be careful what you write. Call a lawyer. My father has been on national news, and is very respected. I can ask him about it, and I can tell you what he says. If it's a good case, he'll let me know. I know in most cases it is hard to fight the school district though. Let me see what he says......
     
  13. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    It's a private (religious) school and I heard that they can get away with questions like that. I'm not planning on doing anything about this...just wanted some opinions. Plus, it really hurt my self-esteem so I needed to vent. :)
     

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