New research indicates that more than half of female orthopaedic surgeons are asked inappropriate questions during their interviews for orthopaedic surgery residency programs.

The data, presented recently at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Diego, California, also show that this trend has not improved over time, even though females account for a growing percentage of applicants to orthopaedic surgery residency programs.

Daniel Bohl, MD, an orthopaedic surgery resident at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues conducted a study to examine inappropriate questions asked of women during residency applications, and to assess whether the frequency with which such illegal questions are asked has changed over time.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits employers from making employment decisions on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, or national origin. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is an amendment to Title VII, bans discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. 

Questions regarding these topics during a residency interview are thus deemed inappropriate and also are prohibited by the National Residency Match Program (NRMP).

For their study, the investigators sent a questionnaire to all female orthopaedic surgeons who had an e-mail address listed in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons directory. In total, 488 women who were interviewed for orthopaedic surgery residency programs between 1971 and 2015 were included in the study.