Equality Bodies

Germany: inadmissable questions at job interviews

On 5 December 2018, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) published the results of a survey on inadmissible questions at job interviews. The survey investigates the extent to which applicants are sensitised to the inadmissibility of questions regarding the characteristics protected under the General Act on Equal Treatment in job interviews, and whether they had ever faced such questions in the past. In addition, attitudes towards anonymised job application procedures were surveyed.

The basis of the survey was just under 1,000 telephone interviews conducted with persons 15 years and over who had had at least one interview for a job or a training place in the previous five years. The survey was conducted from 15 November to 8 December 2017 by the Kantar EMNID polling institute.

Key Outcomes

Knowledge about the inadmissibility of questions on protected characteristics

  • Many candidates are not sufficiently sensitised to the fact that questions by employers on, or in connection with, the characteristics protected under Section 1 AGG are fundamentally inadmissible;
  • A clear majority of those surveyed considered questions on their age (86%), nationality or a (serious) disability (72% in either case) to be fundamentally admissible, even though such questions may only be posed in exceptional cases;
  • Almost four out of ten respondents (39%) considered asking a female candidate whether she was pregnant to be admissible, even though this is clearly prohibited and
    the candidate is not required to respond, nor to respond truthfully.

The report can be found here (only available in German)

A factsheet of the results in English can be found here.

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