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Can interviewers ask details about religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity?

Mkif586

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Hello. In the professional world employers are not permitted to ask potential candidates about topics that underlie protected characteristics (unless they are ready for lawsuit). So I wonder does it work the same way for medical school interviews?
Let’s say a Muslim woman is interviewed and an interviewer asks her “Are you Sunni or Shiite?”
Or “You said you are queer, so could you tell me more about it?”
Or “you are from Poland, are both of your parents ethnic Polands?”
Or “I see you are from Israel, what do you think about Israel - Palestine conflict?”
Basically, is it legal to ask and if a school does can you sue them over a discrimination in case you were denied an acceptance at this school?
 

gyngyn

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Hello. In the professional world employers are not permitted to ask potential candidates about topics that underlie protected characteristics (unless they are ready for lawsuit). So I wonder does it work the same way for medical school interviews?
Let’s say a Muslim woman is interviewed and an interviewer asks her “Are you Sunni or Shiite?”
Or “You said you are queer, so could you tell me more about it?”
Or “I see you are from Israel, what do you think about Israel - Palestine conflict?”
Basically, is it legal to ask and if a school does can you sue them over a discrimination in case you were denied an acceptance at this school?
Anything that the applicant chooses to explore in the application is open for discussion.
That said, spontaneous questions regarding protected categories is not permitted.
 
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deleted804295

Hello. In the professional world employers are not permitted to ask potential candidates about topics that underlie protected characteristics (unless they are ready for lawsuit). So I wonder does it work the same way for medical school interviews?
Let’s say a Muslim woman is interviewed and an interviewer asks her “Are you Sunni or Shiite?”
Or “You said you are queer, so could you tell me more about it?”
Or “you are from Poland, are both of your parents ethnic Polands?”
Or “I see you are from Israel, what do you think about Israel - Palestine conflict?”
Basically, is it legal to ask and if a school does can you sue them over a discrimination in case you were denied an acceptance at this school?
They ask whatever they want. I've been asked some racist questions. Some interviewers are more professional than others.
 
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They ask whatever they want. I've been asked some racist questions. Some interviewers are more professional than others.
Can you elaborate on what the racist questions were? This is a good teaching moment. PM if needed.
 
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deleted804295

Can you elaborate on what the racist questions were? This is a good teaching moment. PM if needed.
I've mentioned it before. They asked why immigrant students do better than native students of a certain race and then proceeded to dialogue about how they thought it was because of a lack of a stable homelife
 
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I've mentioned it before. They asked why immigrant students do better than native students of a certain race and then proceeded to dialogue about how they thought it was because of a lack of a stable homelife
Yeah, I'd notify the Dean as well. That behavior gave me a bad taste in my mouth.
 
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gonnif

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Hello. In the professional world employers are not permitted to ask potential candidates about topics that underlie protected characteristics (unless they are ready for lawsuit). So I wonder does it work the same way for medical school interviews?
Let’s say a Muslim woman is interviewed and an interviewer asks her “Are you Sunni or Shiite?”
Or “You said you are queer, so could you tell me more about it?”
Or “you are from Poland, are both of your parents ethnic Polands?”
Or “I see you are from Israel, what do you think about Israel - Palestine conflict?”
Basically, is it legal to ask and if a school does can you sue them over a discrimination in case you were denied an acceptance at this school?
1) it is legit to ask; none of the questions above would be at all out of bounds.
2) you can sue and almost certainly never win. Indeed, you would be hard pressed to bring a suit as virtually every school has an arbitration clause in their policy or student handbook, which applicants are covered under.
3)
 
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GreenDuck12

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If you mention being queer or belonging to a particular ethnic group, you can certainly be asked about it, your experiences, and how it has influenced your perspectives.

With regards to:
Basically, is it legal to ask and if a school does can you sue them over a discrimination in case you were denied an acceptance at this school?

I think someone could sue if they could demonstrate that they weren’t accepted because of belonging to a protected category. I think it would be incredibly difficult to prove this given 1. How competitive admissions are and 2. how complex admissions scoring is. It’s unlikely a file would say something like “applicant was denied because they belong to x group.”

All of this being said, if during an interview you are asked something you don’t feel comfortable with or is unprofessional, you should report it to the dean of admissions and contact interview coordinator that day.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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They ask whatever they want. I've been asked some racist questions. Some interviewers are more professional than others.

There’s a difference between some interviewers asking whatever they want and what they are allowed to ask. That sort of behavior should be reported that day.
 
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Maimonides1

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There are well defined rules for professional interviewers that some might not abide by.., some questions may be considered totally inappropriate if not purely illegal and could be subject for review with preponderance of records whenever institutional complaints get filed or when to become a legal evidence in court of law!

The mere fact applicants could list their personal information or their personal dress or appearance could betray their racial, ethnic or religious and political affiliation, should not constitute a ground for them to be a fair game for harassment outside the pure objective intent of soliciting their personal qualities found to be desired or fit for specific class, school or any kind of professional affiliation.
 
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Mkif586

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There’s a difference between some interviewers asking whatever they want and what they are allowed to ask. That sort of behavior should be reported that day.
I think some applicants are simply afraid to report inappropriate behavior in fear they will not be accepted to the school because of that. If a person who is to decide your fate gets to know you reported them, it might cost you a vote of that interviewer. I am not sure if that really happens often, but when you are an applicant in nothing less than an Olympic class event, you don’t want to incur any potential risks no matter how inappropriate someone acts toward you.
 
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KnightDoc

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I think some applicants are simply afraid to report inappropriate behavior in fear they will not be accepted to the school because of that. If a person who is to decide your fate gets to know you reported them, it might cost you a vote of that interviewer. I am not sure if that really happens often, but when you are an applicant in nothing less than an Olympic class event, you don’t want to incur any potential risks no matter how inappropriate someone acts toward you.
Or...., now just hear me out, you have confidence in your desirability as a candidate, you resolve not to put up with whatever BS someone in a position of relative power chooses to dish out (don't we at this point have enough instances of this happening in years past?), you trust in the powers that be at the school to do the right thing with your complaint, and, finally, you decide that it wouldn't be a good fit for you in any event if reporting inappropriate behavior causes you to "incur any potential risks no matter how inappropriate someone acts toward you."
 
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KeikoTanaka

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I wouldn't report ANY interviewer. If I felt uncomfortable, I would tell that interviewer, right then and there. You're about to be working in a field where I just saw an agitated psych patient call a black NP a "black bitch". Now, she took it like a champ (oddly enough the patient was black himself), as she is 100% used to working with psych patients, and of course because he was a psych patient and extremely agitated, that was not the appropriate time to check someone on their racism. However, in most normal interactions, 99% of the content that comes out of your mouth is vastly overshadowed by HOW you said what came out of your mouth. There are very polite ways of checking someone on their "inappropriate questions", and there are wrong ways of doing this. If you dodge, dive, and report, you've accomplished nothing for the remainder of the students coming through the door after you until this person was removed from the interviewer position. This is a skill you will learn speaking with patients, and as you mature and go through life, speaking with literally anyone. Take a breath, figure out how you want to say what you want to say, and I think an interviewer will be far more impressed by your maturity to check them on their bias and stand your ground, because it shows you have passion, and you will stand for what you believe in. You cannot demean them, this will only make them push back further, you have to eloquently dance with this. But, you could save countless students hardship after you by doing this, and might just impress an interviewer by not being too timid to say something. Medicine is an extremely hard field, you never know who you will work with. You could be the biggest liberal stitching up the arm of a racist-MAGA-hat-wearing-dingus. But you need to cope. You need to deal. You need to confront when the time is appropriate, and pick your battles accordingly. Ultimately, your safety and your own aspirations are the most important things as you're paying them for this experience and you deserve the best out of it. You can't change everyone in the course of 15 minutes, but you can plant seeds.
 

KnightDoc

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I wouldn't report ANY interviewer. If I felt uncomfortable, I would tell that interviewer, right then and there. You're about to be working in a field where I just saw an agitated psych patient call a black NP a "black bitch". Now, she took it like a champ (oddly enough the patient was black himself), as she is 100% used to working with psych patients, and of course because he was a psych patient and extremely agitated, that was not the appropriate time to check someone on their racism. However, in most normal interactions, 99% of the content that comes out of your mouth is vastly overshadowed by HOW you said what came out of your mouth. There are very polite ways of checking someone on their "inappropriate questions", and there are wrong ways of doing this. If you dodge, dive, and report, you've accomplished nothing for the remainder of the students coming through the door after you until this person was removed from the interviewer position. This is a skill you will learn speaking with patients, and as you mature and go through life, speaking with literally anyone. Take a breath, figure out how you want to say what you want to say, and I think an interviewer will be far more impressed by your maturity to check them on their bias and stand your ground, because it shows you have passion, and you will stand for what you believe in. You cannot demean them, this will only make them push back further, you have to eloquently dance with this. But, you could save countless students hardship after you by doing this, and might just impress an interviewer who was too timid to say something. Medicine is an extremely hard field, you never know who you will work with. You could be the biggest liberal stitching up the arm of a racist MAGA-hat-wearing dingus. But you need to cope. You need to deal. You need to confront when the time is appropriate, and pick your battles accordingly. Ultimately, your safety and your own aspirations are the most important things as you're paying them for this experience and you deserve the best out of it. You can't change everyone in the course of 15 minutes, but you can plant seeds.
This advice sounds great in a perfect world where you are dealing with peers, but, in an application context, there is as great a chance that the interviewer will find you are being argumentative and not knowing your place by confronting him "right then and there" as he will be impressed by the fact that a lowly applicant is checking him on his bias. Reporting mechanisms are there for a reason, this is it!!!! Comparing a NP to a med school applicant, and an interviewer to an agitated psych patient, and how they interact with each other, is ridiculous on its face.
 

KeikoTanaka

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This advice sounds great in a perfect world where you are dealing with peers, but, in an application context, there is as great a chance that the interviewer will find you are being argumentative and not knowing your place by confronting him "right then and there," as he will be impressed by the fact that an mere applicant is checking him on his bias. Reporting mechanisms are there for a reason, this is it!!!!

I repeat: "99% of the content that comes out of your mouth is vastly overshadowed by HOW you said what came out of your mouth"

- Yes, of course reporting mechanisms are in place, and if an interviewer challenges you back and isn't polite, then of course, report, but I think an interviewer will know not to try and escalate a situation and will zip their mouth knowing they hit a sore spot and will probably slash that question from their question list. Or will think twice about asking a future student something similar. FWIW I am gay and was interviewed at 5 schools and got into all 5 schools. I am a good interviewer, and I am a people person. There are ways of turning questions around back at someone to make them re-think what they said in a non-confrontational way, and most people would appreciate such an interaction rather than being told they're wrong, it's a therapist trick.
 

gyngyn

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I wouldn't report ANY interviewer. If I felt uncomfortable, I would tell that interviewer, right then and there. You're about to be working in a field where I just saw an agitated psych patient call a black NP a "black bitch". Now, she took it like a champ (oddly enough the patient was black himself), as she is 100% used to working with psych patients, and of course because he was a psych patient and extremely agitated, that was not the appropriate time to check someone on their racism. However, in most normal interactions, 99% of the content that comes out of your mouth is vastly overshadowed by HOW you said what came out of your mouth. There are very polite ways of checking someone on their "inappropriate questions", and there are wrong ways of doing this. If you dodge, dive, and report, you've accomplished nothing for the remainder of the students coming through the door after you until this person was removed from the interviewer position. This is a skill you will learn speaking with patients, and as you mature and go through life, speaking with literally anyone. Take a breath, figure out how you want to say what you want to say, and I think an interviewer will be far more impressed by your maturity to check them on their bias and stand your ground, because it shows you have passion, and you will stand for what you believe in. You cannot demean them, this will only make them push back further, you have to eloquently dance with this. But, you could save countless students hardship after you by doing this, and might just impress an interviewer by not being too timid to say something. Medicine is an extremely hard field, you never know who you will work with. You could be the biggest liberal stitching up the arm of a racist-MAGA-hat-wearing-dingus. But you need to cope. You need to deal. You need to confront when the time is appropriate, and pick your battles accordingly. Ultimately, your safety and your own aspirations are the most important things as you're paying them for this experience and you deserve the best out of it. You can't change everyone in the course of 15 minutes, but you can plant seeds.
I would trust the admissions dean to be much more effective than even the most skillful applicant.
For that reason, I strongly recommend that inappropriate behavior be reported as soon as the applicant feels safe to do so (at the end of the season or after they have been accepted by their preferred school is soon enough).
Insensitive interviewers cannot be removed if no one is willing to report them. They put the whole institution at risk.
 
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I wouldn't report ANY interviewer. If I felt uncomfortable, I would tell that interviewer, right then and there. You're about to be working in a field where I just saw an agitated psych patient call a black NP a "black bitch". Now, she took it like a champ (oddly enough the patient was black himself), as she is 100% used to working with psych patients, and of course because he was a psych patient and extremely agitated, that was not the appropriate time to check someone on their racism. However, in most normal interactions, 99% of the content that comes out of your mouth is vastly overshadowed by HOW you said what came out of your mouth. There are very polite ways of checking someone on their "inappropriate questions", and there are wrong ways of doing this. If you dodge, dive, and report, you've accomplished nothing for the remainder of the students coming through the door after you until this person was removed from the interviewer position. This is a skill you will learn speaking with patients, and as you mature and go through life, speaking with literally anyone. Take a breath, figure out how you want to say what you want to say, and I think an interviewer will be far more impressed by your maturity to check them on their bias and stand your ground, because it shows you have passion, and you will stand for what you believe in. You cannot demean them, this will only make them push back further, you have to eloquently dance with this. But, you could save countless students hardship after you by doing this, and might just impress an interviewer by not being too timid to say something. Medicine is an extremely hard field, you never know who you will work with. You could be the biggest liberal stitching up the arm of a racist-MAGA-hat-wearing-dingus. But you need to cope. You need to deal. You need to confront when the time is appropriate, and pick your battles accordingly. Ultimately, your safety and your own aspirations are the most important things as you're paying them for this experience and you deserve the best out of it. You can't change everyone in the course of 15 minutes, but you can plant seeds.

I agree with you to a large extent. I'm amazed at how many of my current students are so thin-skinned that light passes right though them.I have to remind them that they'll soon be delivering death sentences or standing in the blood of children.

That said, inappropriate is inappropriate in interview setting. Interviews are two way streets. the school is getting interviewed as much as the candidate is, and pissing off interviewees, especially in an age of social medial, can do a lot of harm top a school's reputation.

Admissions Deans aren't idiots. They know the difference between a female candidate being asked "what does your husband think about your decision to go to med school?" vs "Tell me about a time that you screwed up."

Calling out an interviewer is a very dangerous two-edged sword. Given how easily offended many people are these days, calling out someone over a trivial thing vs a real insult is thin ice territory
 
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I agree with you to a large extent. I'm amazed at how many of my current students are so thin-skinned that light passes right though them.I have to remind them that they'll soon be delivering death sentences or standing in the blood of children.

That said, inappropriate is inappropriate in interview setting. Interviews are two way streets. the school is getting interviewed as much as the candidate is, and pissing off interviewees, especially in an age of social medial, can do a lot of harm top a school's reputation.

Admissions Deans aren't idiots. They know the difference between a female candidate being asked "what does your husband think about your decision to go to med school?" vs "Tell me about a time that you screwed up."

Calling out an interviewer is a very dangerous two-edged sword. Given how easily offended many people are these days, calling out someone over a trivial thing vs a real insult is thin ice territory
All of which is why it's best to go through channels rather than confronting an interviewer during an interview. If it's a simple case of a translucent candidate having a bad reaction, the school can take no action without ever involving the interviewer. On the other hand, if it's problematic activity, that can also be dealt with appropriately, without the candidate being in the direct line of fire. Of course, prudent candidates will make sure light isn't passing through them before they bring the complaint. :)
 
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Tyrese

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Sticks and stones, y'all.....sticks and stones. Words, even derogatory words should mean NOTHING to you. YOU already know your worth, and it ain't what ever some bozo thinks. Maturity is the ability to be unfazed by the words (even harmful) of your patients or cohorts.
 

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Sticks and stones, y'all.....sticks and stones. Words, even derogatory words should mean NOTHING to you. YOU already know your worth, and it ain't what ever some bozo thinks. Maturity is the ability to be unfazed by the words (even harmful) of your patients or cohorts.
No one should be mistreated, especially when the power differential is this great.
 
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Maimonides1

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I think some applicants are simply afraid to report inappropriate behavior in fear they will not be accepted to the school because of that. If a person who is to decide your fate gets to know you reported them, it might cost you a vote of that interviewer. I am not sure if that really happens often, but when you are an applicant in nothing less than an Olympic class event, you don’t want to incur any potential risks no matter how inappropriate someone acts toward you.

Unfortunately I am inclined to agree..
As it always easier said than done.., nonetheless..
Did anybody say.. the American Olympic Gymnastics team..??
 

Maimonides1

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I agree with you to a large extent. I'm amazed at how many of my current students are so thin-skinned that light passes right though them.I have to remind them that they'll soon be delivering death sentences or standing in the blood of children.

That said, inappropriate is inappropriate in interview setting. Interviews are two way streets. the school is getting interviewed as much as the candidate is, and pissing off interviewees, especially in an age of social medial, can do a lot of harm top a school's reputation.

Admissions Deans aren't idiots. They know the difference between a female candidate being asked "what does your husband think about your decision to go to med school?" vs "Tell me about a time that you screwed up."

Calling out an interviewer is a very dangerous two-edged sword. Given how easily offended many people are these days, calling out someone over a trivial thing vs a real insult is thin ice territory

Couldn’t agree more with @Goro
We see quite few of those overly sensitive immature thinned skins.. even late in the game where they could make the whole team feel like always walking on a thin ice.. some will grow.. and sometimes they may require some education with the kind of general Patton’s speeches to condition them.. to prepare for the real wars ahead !!
 
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Tyrese

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No one should be mistreated, especially when the power differential is this great.
I agree, however I was saying how someone else's words (harmful or otherwise) have no bearing on you as a person. An individual's years of experience and preparedness for a field is way too strong to be dismantled by "filler" words. Does that mean that everyone should be protected from harmful/non-constructive criticism? Absolutely.

Nevertheless, your confidence in your worth is thousands of times greater than the thoughtless words of someone else. From what I've heard from the physicians I've spoken to, "you gotta have a thick skin in this field." That's all I was saying.
 
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I agree, however I was saying how someone else's words (harmful or otherwise) have no bearing on you as a person. An individual's years of experience and preparedness for a field is way too strong to be dismantled by "filler" words. Does that mean that everyone should be protected from harmful/non-constructive criticism? Absolutely.

Nevertheless, your confidence in your worth is thousands of times greater than the thoughtless words of someone else. From what I've heard from the physicians I've spoken to, "you gotta have a thick skin in this field." That's all I was saying.
You're still only partially getting it.

While yes, words are only that, mere words, they still can have power, especially in a work environment or an interview setting.

yes, you should not burst into tears if during an interview I ask you some questions that have me probing your determination, but I'm NOT allowed to ask you about your sexuality, marital status, religious beliefs, etc.

Someday, you will be required to take bias training for your job. Then you'll understand.
 

Tyrese

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You're still only partially getting it.

While yes, words are only that, mere words, they still can have power, especially in a work environment or an interview setting.

yes, you should not burst into tears if during an interview I ask you some questions that have me probing your determination, but I'm NOT allowed to ask you about your sexuality, marital status, religious beliefs, etc.

Someday, you will be required to take bias training for your job. Then you'll understand.

First, I want to say that it's cool that I got a reply from you and gyngyn. As a little fish in this ocean, it means a lot. :)

Yes, you're correct. I wasn't disputing the fact that people are protected from personal questions (sex, religion, etc.) I was trying to say (albeit improperly) that one shouldn't question their own abilities or sense of belonging after being told something unfavorable. I was trying to be uplifting (in a way) to those that were victim to such ("those words should mean nothing,..."). Of course, no one should have to deal with such in the first place, but life is not perfect, it's bound to happen (unfortunately).

Looking back at my post, I can see the confusion it can cause. I didn't mean it in the way it was perceived. Again, NO ONE should have to be questioned about something inappropriate in ANY interview setting (medical or not). Nonetheless, I'll work on phrasing my statements more concise to what I'm trying to convey.

Thanks for your reply! :thumbup:
 
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