Things Employers Can NOT Ask in An Interview

As an employer, you have a lot on your plate. From running a business to managing benefits to ensuring your employees are happy in the workplace, compliance is likely the last thing on your mind. However, it is more important than ever to ensure your business and HR team are compliant when interviewing since a bad hire, or even an unlawful interview, could cost your business hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We want to ensure you’re not only asking the right questions to find the best hire, but that you’re also avoiding the questions that are illegal.

Our HR Specialist, Gretchen, put together a list of a few of the things employers are not allowed to ask in job interviews.

  • Past or Current Salary: This could perpetuate wage disparity which is why it’s illegal to ask this on an application or in an interview.
  • Age or Graduation Dates: You can’t ask anything about age or graduation dates as it discriminates against potential employees and their ability to perform the job function.
  • Sick Leave or Sick Days Used in Past Employment: This is private information and should have no impact on whether the employee can perform the role they are applying for.
  • Criminal History: You can’t mention anything about criminal history until after a conditional offer is made.
  • Physical or Mental Disabilities: The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) says that it’s unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant with a disability whether visibilly apparent or not.
  • Childcare /Planning for Children: An employer cannot discriminate against a male or female job applicant so there shouldn’t be any questions related to whether an applicant is planning to have children, is pregnant, or how childcare services will be managed.
  • Religious Affiliation: Religious freedom is federally protected which is why an employer cannot ask an employee about their faith or if they’ll need time off for religious holidays.
  • Country or Origin: National origin is a federally protected class so employers cannot base hiring decisions on whether an applicant is from a different country or of a specific ethnicity.
  • Military Deployment: Military status is also federally protected so employers cannot discriminate based on a candidate’s past, current, or future service.

We recommend removing these questions from applications and/or recruiting policies to ensure your business is compliant when hiring new employees.

Lastly, when onboarding a new employee, you must collect an Employment Eligibility Verification I9 Document within 3 business days from the first day of paid work. This is required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act and it verifies the eligibility of an employee to work legally in the United States.

Have more questions about hiring compliance? Give us a call at 619-222-0119.

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