Employers: What Questions Should You Avoid in a Job Interview? Illegal and Discriminatory Questions

Certain questions are taboo for employers to ask in a job interview. The most obvious ones are questions that could be regarded as discrimination. If you ask these types of questions, you could be held liable if a discrimination lawsuit is brought against you.

Do not ask questions that intimate at anything to do with age, race, color, national origin or birthplace, religion, disability, genetic information, gender/sex or marital/family status/pregnancy. (EEOC)

Examples of Questions to Avoid in Job Interviews

It’s best to cross these types of questions or similar questions off your list and steer clear of them. Examples include:

  • Are you biracial?
  • Which church do you attend?
  • What languages do you speak at home?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Do you plan to have children within the next year?
  • Do you have a disability?
  • What medications are you currently taking?
  • Have you filed any workers’ compensation claims?
  • Have any of your close relatives had a heart attack or been diagnosed with a heart condition?
  • Do mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression or schizophrenia run in your family?
  • Have you had genetic tests to determine whether you are at risk for cancer?
  • When do you plan to retire?
  • How old are your children?
  • What salary did you make at your last job?

Salary Related Questions

The New York City Council passed a law that went into effect in 2017 that prohibited employers from asking job candidates about their salary history, compensation history and other past benefits during job interviews. Similarly, Suffolk County, New York has recently passed a law (the RISE Act) prohibiting the same questions. This law goes into effect for Suffolk County on June 30, 2019.

If you have concerns about what types of questions you should avoid during job interviews, our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to advise you.

We also represent employers in employment related disputes.

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