Often times, because of their eagerness to be considered for employment, many people overlook inappropriate interview questions. Depending on how they’re asked, questions about personal issues like marital status, race, and health are more than just bad manners. They’re illegal under federal and some state and local laws.If youIf youIf youIf youIf youIf you
These types of questions can be used to discriminate against applicants and you have a right not to answer them. Here are eight questions your potential employer can’t ask you.
The central theses
- Depending on how they’re asked, questions about personal topics such as marital status, race, and health can be illegal under federal and some state and local laws.
- Some types of interview questions can be used to discriminate against applicants and it is your right to refuse to answer.
- Questions like “How old are you?” “What religion do you practice?” and “Are you a US citizen?” are considered to be illegal, among other things.
8 things employers shouldn’t ask you
1. How old are you?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act 1967 (ADEA) protects people aged 40 and over from workplace discrimination in favor of younger workers. There is no federal protection to protect employees under the age of 40 from age discrimination.If youTo determine whether you are legally entitled to work, employers may ask whether you are over 18 years of age.If youIf you
2. Are you married?
Questions about marital status are prohibited. Employers may be tempted to ask this question to see if your relationship could negatively affect your work. For example, if you’re married, you may be more likely to leave the company if your spouse gets a job in another city. Even a question that seems as innocent as “Would you like to be addressed as a woman, miss, or woman?” is not allowed.If youIf you
3. Are you a US citizen?
Citizenship and immigration status cannot be used against a potential employee during the hiring process, under the Immigration Reform and Control Act 1986 (IRCA).If youEmployers must wait for a job vacancy to be renewed so that an employee must complete the Employability Review Form (I-9) and submit documents proving identity and work permit.If youHowever, it is lawful for an employer to ask a respondent if they are eligible to work in the United StatesIf youIf you
4. Do you have disabilities?
This question may seem necessary to determine whether an applicant can perform the required assignments, but it is illegal to ask under the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (ADA). Employers cannot exclude someone from a job because of a physical or mental disability. In fact, the law requires them to record disabilities unless they can demonstrate that doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense. Nor can employers ask you whether you have had a history of illness or surgery.If youIf youIf youIf you
5. Do you take drugs, smoke or drink?
Concerns about drug, alcohol, or nicotine addiction are legitimate as they can affect the quality of an employee’s job and the level of health coverage a company has. However, an employer could be in legal trouble if they fail to carefully formulate questions about these potential problems. You may ask if you have ever been disciplined for violating company policies regarding the use of alcohol and tobacco products. You can also ask directly if you use illegal drugs, but an employer cannot inquire about your prescription drug use.If youIf youIf youIf you
6. What religion do you practice?
Inquiries about religious beliefs are a sensitive issue. An interviewer may be curious about planning reasons such as holidays that an employee may need or when the candidate is not available for work on weekends due to religious obligations. It is illegal to deliberately discriminate against or harass an employee based on their religious beliefs.
Employers need to take into account a worker’s religious beliefs or practices regarding things like dress policy, care policy, and flexible planning.If youIf you
7. What is your race?
There is no situation when questions about an employee’s race or skin color should be used to determine their suitability for a job. This protection is provided under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.If youEmployers may request an employee to voluntarily disclose their race for positive action purposes.If youIf you
It’s important to note that as of 2020, additional measures have been adopted in some states prohibiting applicants from asking about their current salary. In Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, it is illegal to ask a respondent to provide information about their current pay.If youOne of the reasons for this ban is that any information submitted regarding current salary tends to cement the gender pay gap.If youIf you
8. Are you pregnant?
Marital status questions concern women the most, but may also apply to men in certain situations. Employers may be concerned that an employee is taking maternity leave or not receiving childcare during working hours. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) states that an employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, a pregnancy-related condition, or the prejudice of an employee, client, or client.If youIf you
However, it is lawful for employers to calm their nerves about a worker’s availability or commitment to a position by asking about long-term career goals or a worker’s ability to work overtime and travel.If youIf you
The bottom line
It is important to know your rights as an employee. Illegal questions are not permitted in applications, during the interview or at work. While inappropriate questions from employers can be simple mistakes, they can also be deliberate incidents of discrimination that should be reported.
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