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    Questions Employers May and May Not ask Potential Employees in an Interview

    Questions Employers May and May Not ask Potential Employees Employment anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from asking interview questions that discriminate illegally. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, age or national origin. The EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enforces these laws. This protection against discrimination extends to hiring, firing, promoting, setting wages, testing, training, and all other terms of employment. Accordingly, certain questions asked during interviewing may be discriminatory, and consequently, the interviewing employer may be vulnerable to discrimination suits. To interview effectively, employers should know these discriminating questions and possible alternatives to avoid such liability. If any of these laws are broken the employee may need Employment Law Representation. Employees might also seek out lawyers at HKM to help recover any lost wages or to handle any contractual obligations that may be due.

    Questions to Avoid
    Employment anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from asking direct questions about race, color, sex, religion, national origin, birthplace, age, disability, and marital or family status. Some examples of questions employers should not ask are:

    Race, Color, Religion, National Origin:

    • Are you a U.S. Citizen?
    • Where did you grow up?
    • Will you need personal time for particular religious holidays?


    • When did you graduate from high school?
    • Are you comfortable working with co-workers older/younger than you?
    • How long do you plan to work before you retire?

    Gender & Family Status:

    • How many children do yo have? How old are your children?
    • What arrangements are you able to make for childcare while you are at work?
    • Do you have plans to have children soon?
    • What does your spouse do for a living?
    • Are you comfortable working for a female boss?


    • Do you have any visual, speech, or hearing disabilities?
    • Are you planning to have a family and when?
    • Have you ever filed a workers’ compensation claim with the The Dominguez Firm workers’ comp lawyers?
    • Have you had any serious illnesses in the past year?
    • How many days of work did you miss last year due to illness?

    Possible Legal Alternative Questions:
    Rather than asking directly about race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, family status or disability, the focus of the questions should be on behaviors, skills and experience needed for the position. The questions should be used to discover and predict job-related performance of the potential employee, rather than discovering personal information. Some examples of possible legal alternative questions are:

    Race, Color, Religion, National Origin:

    • Are you authorized to work in the United States?
    • Do you have any language abilities that will benefit you in this job?
    • Are you part of any professional or trade groups or other organizations that you consider relevant to your ability to perform this job?
    • Are you available to work on Saturdays or Sundays?


    • Are you over the age of 18?
    • Can you provide proof of age after employment?

    Gender & Family Status:

    • Would you be willing to relocate if necessary?
    • Do you have any restrictions in your ability to travel?
    • Do you have any responsibilities or commitments that will prevent you from meeting your specified work schedules?


    • Are you able to lift 40 lbs and carry it 100 yards, as that is part of the job?
    • Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job with reasonable accommodations?

    Employers should know what questions may and may not be asked according to employment laws. “Additionally, employers should also let employees know that if they get injured, they can call a workers compensation attorney for legal assistance. Rather that direct questions regarding race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, family status, or disability, the questions should focus on skills, behavior and experience needed for the position. An experienced work accident benefits attorney will make sure to best represent your interest and get the best deal possible if you’ve been injured on the job.

    Author Brad Denton Written By

    Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C.

    Mesa Location:
    1930 N Arboleda #201
    Mesa, Arizona 85213
    Office: 480-655-7440
    Fax: 480-655-7099

    Phoenix Location:
    40 N Central Ave #1400
    Phoenix, AZ 85004
    Phone: 480-325-9937

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