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Illegal Interview Questions

When interviewing candidates, it's critical to avoid discriminating on the basis of race, religion, age, disability, or other factors. Failure to follow the law could result in an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit.

Questions that discriminate

Anyone in your company who interviews candidates should know what questions may and may not be asked. Questions about any of the following subjects—none of which have any bearing on an individual’s ability to do a job—are considered illegal.

Illegal subject Sample illegal questions
Age How old are you? Are you a Baby Boomer?
Race or nationality You’re Hispanic (or other ethnic group), right?
Pregnancy (existing or planned) Are you planning to have a family in the next five years?
Disabilities Any disabilities we should know about?
Family and marital status Do you have kids? How many?
Household situation Do you have any grandparents living with you?
Spouse’s occupation What does your husband/wife do for a living?
Religion or church attendance Do you attend church regularly?
Arrest record Have you ever committed a crime? What did it involve?

Workers with disabilities
While it’s illegal to ask about disabilities in an interview, it’s acceptable to ask applicants if they are able to perform the essential responsibilities of the job with reasonable accommodation. That’s why it’s important to prepare job descriptions carefully, since they can be used against your company in a lawsuit.

Learn more about hiring people with disabilities.

For help with interviewing and other workforce issues, contact your local American Job Center to connect with a Business Services Representative or other resource.

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