Illegal job interview questions

#1: Where were you born?

This question might seem like small talk as you get to know a person, but it could also be used to gather information illegally about the candidate’s national origin. Although it may seem more relevant, you should also avoid asking, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” You can ask whether a candidate is authorized to work in the United States, but avoid asking about citizenship.

#2: What is your native language?

Again, the problem is that this question could be used to determine national origin. You can ask whether the person knows a language if it is required for the job. For example, if job responsibilities include supporting Spanish-speaking customers, it’s fair to ask whether the candidate speaks Spanish.

You sound like you have an accent; where are you from?

Exceptions: Employers are required to hire only those employees who can legally work in the United States. For that reason, employers can ask whether you are eligible to work in the United States.

#3: Are you married?

Here’s another question that would seem innocent in most settings, but definitely not in a job interview. Because you can’t discriminate on the basis of marital status, this question is off limits.

#4: Do you have children?

This might sound like small talk, too — an innocent question in most settings — but not in a job interview. It’s covered by a general prohibition about discrimination over parental status.

#5: Do you plan to get pregnant?

Exceptions: Employers can inquire whether you have ever worked under a different name or whether you have personal responsibilities that could interfere with requirements of the job like travel or overtime hours.

#6: How old are you?

Exceptions: The act does not prohibit interviewers from posing questions about age, but does prohibit discrimination on these grounds unless age directly affects the job. An employer can rightfully inquire whether the candidate meets the minimum federal age requirements for employment (usually 14-17 years old).

#7: Do you observe Ramadan?

You can’t discriminate on the basis of religion, so this question is illegal, as would be asking about Good Friday, Ramadan, or the Solstice. If you’re concerned about the candidate’s availability, you could ask whether he or she can work on holidays and weekends, but not about the observance of particular religious holidays.

#8: Do you have a disability or chronic illness?

This information is not supposed to be used as a factor in hiring, so the questions are illegal. Exceptions: Employers may ask whether you have any conditions that would keep you from performing the specific tasks of the job for which you are applying. They may also require that all candidates for a certain position pass through a medical examination that is relevant to the responsibilities of that job. Employers can subject candidates to illegal drug tests or ask you whether you take illegal drugs.

#9: Are you in the National Guard?

Although some managers may find it disruptive when employees leave for duty, it’s illegal to discriminate against someone because he or she belongs to the National Guard or a reserve unit.

#10: Do you smoke or use alcohol?

In general, you can’t discriminate on the basis of the use of a legal product when the employee is not on the premises and not on the job.

#11. Do you belong to a party?

Political affiliation is also a big no no when it comes to the interview process, in general, you can’t discriminate on the basis of party or non party affiliation.

#12. Are you straight or gay?

A person’s sexual orientation cannot be enquired about by an employer It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.