By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
March 17, 2021
Employment law constantly changes. It’s important to stay up to date with changes in the law. Here are 12 of the most common ways employers violate the law by asking prohibited questions during job interviews.i
1) Are you a U.S. citizen?
You are allowed to ask if the candidate is authorized to work in the U.S., but you are not allowed to ask if they are a citizen.
2) How old are you?
You can ask if the candidate is older than 18 because underage workers can cause employment issues.
3) Are you married?
You cannot ask this because marital status has nothing to do with job performance.
4) Do you plan to have children or How many children do you have?
How many children a person has isn’t relevant to the job.
5) What are your child-care arrangements?
You can ask if the candidate is able to travel or work overtime (but only if all applicants for the job are asked these questions), but you cannot ask about the specifics of making travel/overtime work with their family or personal life.
6) What’s your height and weight?
The only time you can ask this question is if the job has height and/or weight restrictions for specific safety reasons.
7) Have you had any illnesses or operations?
Unless the candidate needs out-of-the-ordinary accommodations to perform the job at hand, you shouldn’t be asking about the candidate’s medical history.
8) What holidays do you celebrate?
This can be viewed as a sneaky way to find out the candidate’s religion, so it is also an illegal question.
9) Are you on any medications?
You do not need to be nosing into the candidate’s medical history. As long as the candidate can do the job, all other medical-related questions are off-limits.
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10) Do you attend church?
Non-religious workplaces have no right to this information.
11) Do you have any debt?
You can run a credit check to see if the candidate is good at paying bills on time, but you cannot ask about specific debts.
12) Do you rent or own your home?
You might ask this question because you are concerned about a possible need to relocate, but it’s an illegal question.
As employment law continues to evolve, we, as employers, must continue to review this area with the practice attorney involved in human resources law. Take this week to make sure you are compliant.