The prohibition against workplace discrimination is slightly misleading because these protections begin before you start and extend after you leave work. Anti-discrimination laws prohibit the prejudicing of any employee or job applicant because of their race, color, religion or culture in regard to any condition or privilege of employment.
Basically, this means that your employer cannot discriminate against you during recruitment, promotions, terminations, job training or anything else connected to work. Essentially, everyone gets a fair shot at everything all the time.
This does not ban employers from asking biographical information during the recruitment process, which would be strange because just about every major employer asks those kinds of questions.
Instead, employers must limit the questions to those with a legitimate purpose, like tracking applicant flow or for affirmative action matters. Those questions must also be clearly marked as separate from the substantive portions of the application, usually by being on a different sheet of paper or a separate screen.
Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit job requirements designed to exclude a particular group of people. These actions can be expressed in a limitless number of ways, but some common examples are:
Testing applicants for knowledge or skills not related to the job requirements.
Soliciting applications from one narrow source in which all or most applicants are from the same group.
Requiring applicants to have a specific educational or technical background that is irrelevant to the job at hand.
If you believe that you may have been the victim of discrimination while applying for a job, then you may want to speak to an employment law attorney to review your legal rights. Discrimination sucks out the potential for productivity and creativity that everyone is entitled to partake. You are entitled by law to a fair chance at a happy ending; make sure you take it.