There are some questions that are legally impermissible to ask in a job interview. Some questions are obviously impermissible, others are more "subtle".
Examples of improper questions:
- How old are you?
- Will you require us to give you time off for certain religious holidays?
- Are you married?
- Do you have children?
- Will you be able to work when school districts give children time off school?
- Are you pregnant?
- Are you a U.S. Citizen?
- How much do you weigh?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- Your last name sounds _______________(Polish, Arabic, Etc.), is it?
- Do you have a disability?
At the Pre-employment stage you can inquire:
- Can you perform the requirements of the job with or without reasonable accomodation?
- If you are hired, can you show that you have authority to legally work in the U.S.?
- Do you meet the minimum age requirement to work at this job?
- What languages do you speak, read, or write fluently? (as it relates to the job requirements and performance)
- Whether the person can work the specific hours that the position requires.
- Criminal convictions as they relate to fitness for the job or the job requirements.
Be certain that any testing, or job requirements at the pre-employment stage are applied to all applicants, not just some. (for instance, asking all applicants for a certain position whether or not they can arrive at the office within 20 minutes (if there is a reasonable work necessity for this) is fine. Asking this of only applicants that have children is not permissible).
Remember, the above applies to pre-employment situations. Once you hire, you will need to verify their employment eligibility, you can collect certain data and for affirmative action documentation, and you may need to get further medical or disability information as relating to job performance and requirements.
If you have any doubts as to whether an inquiry is proper, don't ask (or at least don't ask until you do a little research first). The EEOC website is an excellent resource for employers.
Kalish Law Office - Business Attorneys - The Woodlands Texas - Since 1984