What Questions Are Employers Prohibited from Asking during Interviews?

Photo of a people having a meetingWhat questions are employers allowed to ask during an interview?

According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers are prohibited from inquiring about a variety of subjects. But despite this, according to CareerBuilder, 20 percent of hiring managers have asked off-limits questions during job interviews.  Here is a short list detailing some prohibited questions for employers to ask applicants. Employers cannot ask:

  • About your health or medical history, or whether you have ever filed a workers’ comp claim
  • Any non- job-related questions that express directly or indirectly a limitation, specification or discrimination regarding race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age or sexual orientation
  • You to produce naturalization or alien card prior to employment
  • Questions about your height or weight
  • You to include a photograph with your application, or after an interview but prior to employment
  • Whether or not you are pregnant or may become pregnant
  • Whether you have children
  • Whether you are in debt
  • Whether you smoke or drink socially
  • If you will need time off for religious holidays
  • About your past, current or future military membership or service

Some of these questions are not explicitly illegal, but can imply an illegal motive.

If you do find yourself in an interview and the interviewer asks one of these questions, you should think about what is really being communicated. After all, the interviewer may not have discriminatory intent. But you should never feel obligated to answer a question that the interviewer has no right to ask.

If you believe you have been discriminated against during the hiring process for a job, discuss it in a free consultation with an employment law attorney.



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