Employment Interviews and Applications. (Questions You Should Not Ask)

Employment laws have changed significantly during the last 10 years and have become considerably more complicated. Employers need to carefully consider the questions they will be asking on an employment application and during the job interview. Many questions are now off-limits to ask. It is getting to the point where there are more questions that can’t be asked than can on job applications and during interviews.

There are several problem questions that employers should not ask or discuss. These questions include but are not limited to:

Race, religion, sex, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, birthplace, disability (The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it unlawful to ask a potential employee about the existence or severity of a disability or how he or she became disabled.) Arrest and conviction records – (some exceptions) citizenship (Form I-9 is the appropriate place to determine citizenship status instead of the employment application.)

The distinctions within the same topic or category can be tricky at times. For example you may inquire into the education and the schools attended by potential employees, however you may not ask for the specific dates of attendance or graduation.

Then you have the mind numbing area of misdemeanors, being convicted of a felony, arrests, and convictions. Questions concerning these areas need to be worded properly to avoid potential problems.

Employment attorneys generally agree that inquiries should be avoided that although not specifically listed, are designed to acquire information about race, ancestry, color, age, sex, religion, and disability.

Keeping current with employment laws has become a time-consuming but extremely important part of running a business.

It is no longer wise or safe to use standard or outdated employment applications. You should make sure that someone in your company reviews your job application and interview questions regularly. This should also include a yearly meeting with an attorney in your state who specializes in employment law. Legal fees may be expensive; however, those expenses pale in comparison with the costs and repercussions of lawsuits and fines.