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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Did You Know These Were Illegal Interview Questions?

By Dan Atkerson on November 30, 2015

Group of Multiethnic Diverse Business People

Workplace discrimination is a sad truth in every part of employment. Sometime, it even starts before you get the job. Asking certain questions during a job interview can constitute employment discrimination, so look out for illegal interview questions such as these:

  • How Old Are You? One of the more prevalent, yet under investigated forms of discrimination is age discrimination. If a potential employer starts prying you for your exact age, they may try to base the decision to hire you on your age (over 40), which is illegal. Also, asking when you graduated college and other sly questions to determine your approximate age could be discrimination.
  • What Country Are You From? Asking if you are legally allowed to work in this country is legal. Asking where you came from or if you speak English might be national origin discrimination.
  • Are You Married? It might be harmless… or it might be an attempt to predict your family plans and the likelihood that you’ll be taking maternity leave or paternity leave in the future. Pregnancy discrimination includes discrimination against anyone who plans on getting pregnant in the future. This question may also be an attempt to find out your sexuality. Not every city offers employment protection for the LGBT community, but Dallas does.
  • Are You Religious? Asking about a person’s religion is usually an effort to determine if an employee will be asking for time off to observe religious holidays. It’s illegal to make hiring decisions based on religion.
  • How’s Your Health? In an effort to determine your potential longevity with the company, a hiring manager may ask about your health. For example, asking anything beyond “can you lift more than 50lbs?” for a physically demanding job can be construed as discriminatory.
  • Do You Drink? This question is made illegal during job interviews by the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect recovering alcoholics, who are protected from having to reveal their status. In addition, asking about past drug use is prohibited, even though asking about current drug use is allowed.
These are just a few examples of discriminatory job interview questions. An employment lawyer can answer any more of your questions if you think discrimination came into play during your job interview.

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