Several women that were interviewing for a position at Bill Gates’ private investment office, claim to have been asked highly intrusive and unprofessional questions. They contend they were asked if they ever had an affair, what kind of pornography they watched, and if they had ever “danced for dollars”. One of the candidates was asked if she ever contracted a sexually transmitted disease. These questions were asked by a third-party company, Concentric Advisors, that had been hired to conduct screening processes and background checks. According to Concentric, the questions were intended to determine if the candidates would be prone to blackmail if they were to get the job. The story was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, they also said that they could not confirm if male candidates were asked the same questions.
Mike LeFever, Concentric Advisor’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal that its screening questions and background checks are the same regardless the gender. He also added that the screening questions and background checks are compliant with state and federal laws. A spokesperson for the company stated that their screening process involves “assessing a candidate’s truthfulness and vulnerability to blackmail, which often starts with voluntary statements by the candidate with follow-up questions by company interviewers.”
Gates Ventures, Bill Gates private office, describes itself on their site as a family office security for high-net-worth clients. A representative of the company claimed that the line of questioning is completely unacceptable and is a violation of the agreement with Concentric Advisors. These specific questions are not prohibited by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission however it might fall under the category of asking questions that discriminate against a job candidates’ gender.
Questions regarding the job candidate’s health and psychiatric history were asked as well as questions related to past illegal drug use. These types of questions are completely prohibited by the Federal Americans with Disability Act.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, questions asked by employer’s should only be related to the candidate’s job history, education, financial or credit history, and public social media activities. They are not allowed to ask questions regarding medical or genetic information if the candidate has not been offered the position or has not started working for the employer.