A recent post on Ask a Manager dealt with blatant discrimination that a woman faced in an interview specifically because she is pregnant.
The response she received was along the lines of “Yes, it’s illegal and you do have the right to file a complaint and sue, but that might not be a good move.” One of the comments to this post concurred that suing could make it difficult for her to find employment anywhere.
Based on the way the reader explained the situation, I don’t think the hiring manager was aware of the possible consequences of his/her actions. To say what was said to this job candidate while knowing that it is illegal to discriminate based on pregnancy status would be pretty bone-headed.
The thing is, ignorance of the law doesn’t absolve you from having to follow it. If illegal discrimination practices are happening and applicants are being kept out of positions they are qualified to do, it’s not right.
I know the advice given is spot-on — if you file a lawsuit, you are very likely to have an extremely difficult time getting hired again (even if the prospective employer blatantly and knowingly broke the law).
The question I have is this: what is the point of having anti-discrimination laws in place if you can’t act on them for fear of being blackballed?