Illegal Interview Questions
Illegal interview questions to ask are questions that may insinuate discrimination on the part of the employer. These questions can result in lawsuits against the employer, initiated by an employee who feels illegal questions may have played a part losing a job opportunity. Knowing what questions you can and can't ask during the interview process can save possible legal action against your company in the future.
- Are you married? This is an interview question an employer can't ask. Your marital or family status has no bearing on your ability to do a job. An employer also cannot ask, in the case of a female, if she is pregnant. In doing so, the employer sets the company up for a possible lawsuit. It is illegal to turn someone down for a job because she is pregnant. You cannot ask if someone has children or even if they plan to have children.
- What race are you and what is your country of origin? This is an illegal question to ask during an interview. Job discrimination based on race or country of origin is illegal. This question can be asked after someone is hired, strictly for the purpose of building statistics regarding non-discriminatory employment. There are ways to get around this question. You can't ask "Where are you from?" This is an illegal interview question. You can ask, "Are you a U.S. citizen?"
- What is your religion? This question is off limits. There is a strong division between state and religion. This applies to employment practices as well. An employer cannot turn someone down for a job based on religious preferences.
- Questions regarding a disability are off limits. Health questions are permitted as they apply to a job. For instance, if a job can be detrimental to someone with a weak heart, you can ask questions designed to ensure an employee is capable of handling the job. To protect your company from legal issues that could arise from discrimination, these questions are usually presented as multiple choice, which avoids focusing on a single illness or health issue.
- Don't ask someone's age. Not only does this mean to avoid asking, "How old are you?" it means you can't ask how long someone plans to keep working. This can help ensure you aren't accused of not hiring someone who is close to retirement age.
- Gender questions cannot be legally asked. Avoid questions like, "This has always been a man's position. Do you feel you can handle it?" when speaking to a woman job candidate. Any question that indicates you are basing a hiring decision on gender is illegal.