July 27, 2016
Hello Leaders!
My goal is to always help you protect your organization, therefore below is a refresher course/tips regarding illegal interview questions. Please share with your team.

As always, call me at (877) 356-6175 for any questions or assistance with HR issues. Have a fantastic week!  

Vanessa G. Nelson

Oftentimes employers assign managers and staff to interview potential employment candidates without considering the consequences of illegal interview questions.

An illegal question is one that seeks information the employer is not entitled to request and/or not entitled to use as a basis for job decisions. Most illegal questions cross the line by inquiring about protected characteristics, such as age, disability, race or religion, which could be used to discriminate against the applicant.

Ask only job-related questions.

It is unlawful under federal law not to hire candidates because of their race, color, sex (including certain protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals), religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or military service. Some states also prohibit discrimination based upon marital status and other factors. Employers should avoid questions and conversation that could lead to discussion of these prohibited areas.

Sample Illegal Questions:

Are you married?
What is your maiden name?

Acceptable Alternative: Have you ever been known or gone by a different name?

Note: This question is allowable only if the information is needed to verify the applicant’s qualifications.

Have you ever been arrested?
Have you ever spent a night in jail?
Have you ever been caught driving drunk?

Note: This is a delicate area. Although there is no federal law that clearly prohibits an employer from asking about arrest and conviction records, using such records as an absolute measure to prevent an individual from being hired could limit the employment opportunities of some protected groups and thus cannot be used in this way. A number of state laws also limit the use of arrest and conviction records by prospective employers. These range from laws and rules prohibiting the employer from asking the applicant any questions about arrest records to those restricting the employer's use of conviction data in making an employment decision. In some states, while there is no restriction placed on the employer, there are protections provided to the applicant with regard to what information they are required to report.

Where were you born?
Where were your parents born?
How long has your family been in the U.S.?
That’s an unusual name - what does it mean?

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