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More on Illegal Interview Questions

Illegal Interview Questions

 

Illegal Interview Question Samples

Below are illegal interview question samples, along with reasons employers may legally ask for the same information in other ways. They are based on Federal discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but may differ from your state's laws. (Federal laws set only the minimum requirements, to which all states must adhere.) Because simply asking an interview question that might have discriminatory implications isn't necessarily illegal, this writer has labeled them as Appropriate and Inappropriate vs. Legal and Illegal, respectively.

Marital Status

Inappropriate:

 

Are you married?
Is this your maiden or married name?
With whom do you live?

Appropriate:

 

After hiring, marital status on tax and insurance forms

 

 

 

Parental Status

Inappropriate:

 

How many kids do you have?
Do you plan to have children?
Are you pregnant?

Appropriate:

 

After hiring, asking for dependent information on tax and insurance forms

 

 

 

Age

Inappropriate:

 

How old are you?
What year were you born?
When did you graduate from high school?

Appropriate:

 

Before hiring, asking if you are over the minimum age for the hours or working conditions. After hiring, verifying same with a birth certificate or other ID, and asking age on insurance forms

 

 

 

National Origin

Inappropriate:

 

Where were you born?
Where are your parents from?
What's your heritage?

Appropriate:

 

Verifying legal U.S. residence or work visa status

 

 

 

Race or Skin Color

Inappropriate:

 

What race are you?
Are you a member of a minority group?

Appropriate:

 

Generally indicate equal opportunity employment. Asking race only as required for affirmative-action programs

 

 

 

Religion or Creed

Inappropriate:

 

What religion are you?
Which religious holidays will you be taking off from work?
Do you attend church regularly?

Appropriate:

 

Contact religious or other organizations related to your beliefs, that you list as employers or references

 

 

 

Criminal Record

Inappropriate:

 

Have you ever been arrested?
Have you ever spent a night in jail?

Appropriate:

 

Questions about convictions by civil or military courts, if accompanied by a disclaimer that answers will not necessarily cause loss of job opportunity. Specific convictions, if related to fitness to perform the job, and the most-recent conviction (or prison release date) is within 7 years of job application date. Generally, law enforcement agencies can ask about arrests.

 

 

 

Disability

Inappropriate:

 

Do you have any disabilities?
What's your medical history?
How does your condition affect your abilities?

Appropriate:

 

Ask if you can perform specific duties of the job. After hiring, ask about medical history on insurance forms

 

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