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Can an employer discriminate based on where you went to school?

As you fill out your resume, you may be wondering if anything on it could cause you to be discriminated against in the hiring process. You know that employers are not legally allowed to discriminate based on race, gender, age, and a whole host of other factors, but could they discriminate against you based on where you went to college?

Naturally, where you attended school is going to matter. Some schools are more prestigious than others, and that's going to matter. A candidate who went to Harvard is likely going to have a better chance at getting a job than someone who went to the local community college. Likewise, some schools specialize in certain things, so candidates from specific schools may be more likely to get jobs in business, education and other fields based on their schools' reputations in those areas.

This is not illegal. Employers are allowed to consider where you attended college and base their decisions on that.

However, experts warn that this can sometimes be a way to disguise illegal discrimination. For example, according to the websites of the schools themselves, Bethune Cookman College has 94 percent minority students and Brigham Young University has about 99 percent Mormon students. An employer could cite the university as the reason for not hiring a person when the reality is that he or she is biased against Mormons or minorities, which is illegal.

If you feel you've been discriminated against for any reason while trying to get a job, make sure that you know about all of the legal options you have in New Jersey.

Source: The Nest, "Can Employers Discriminate Based on School?," Ron White, accessed April 08, 2016

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