In a Wall Street Journal exclusive, some female applicants to Bill Gates’ private office, Gates Ventures are claiming they were asking inappropriate questions not suited for the workplace.
The women are claiming that the questions ranged from past drug use to sexual history — supposedly to discern whether anything in the candidate’s past would make them vulnerable to blackmail, the outlet reported. Some candidates are claiming they were questioned on whether they had ever “danced for dollars.” At least one applicant claims they were asked about having ever contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
The extensive pre-employment screenings in question were allegedly conducted by a third-party risk management firm, Concentric Advisors, which works with a series of industries (including private family offices) to “mitigate risks posed by individuals and groups with potentially nefarious motives,” the company’s website states.
Related: Bill Gates Became $2 Billion Richer Today
Concentric told the WSJ that its pre-employment screening process is identical for both men and women and complies with the laws in each state and nation where it provides its services. The company added that it never initiated questions about sexual or medical history but that candidates could offer up such information when asked about public records.
A spokesperson for Gates Ventures also told the WSJ that it requires all vendors it works with for pre-employment screenings to comply with state and federal laws.
“We have never received information from any vendor or interviewee in our 15+ year history that inappropriate questions were asked during the screening process,” the spokesperson told the outlet. “We can confirm, that after a comprehensive review of our records, no employment offer has ever been rescinded based on information of this nature.”
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers should avoid asking personal questions that are protected by law, such as inquiries on race, religion, gender identity, medical history, and disabilities.
Related: Here Are 30 Book Recommendations from Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates to Add to Your Summer Reading List if You Want to Get Smarter About Business and Leadership