Have you ever gone to an interview for a potential job and been asked a question you felt was a bit too personal? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employers from asking certain questions during the interview process. It is important for employers to be aware of the standards outlined by EEOC before conducting interviews. It is equally important for interviewees or potential employees to know their rights and the type of information they are not required to disclose during an interview.
Laws enforced by the EEOC prohibit discrimination based on age, disability, nationality, race, religion, or sex, and is applicable to the hiring process as well as during employment. Employers are not allowed to ask questions about a potential employee’s disability or questions that are likely to reveal whether an applicant has a disability, even if it is obvious, before a job offer has been made. However, you can ask an applicant if he/she will need a reasonable accommodation during the application process or on the job. Questions about an applicant’s genetic information is also prohibited.
Examples of Questions You Cannot Ask
- Do you have a disability?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Do mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia run in your family?
- What country are your parents from?
- Do you have any children?
- Are you pregnant?
- Are you married?
- What’s your religious affiliation?
Guidelines for questions that are allowed after an applicant is hired or offered a position differ from those that are allowed during the interview. To avoid any discrimination violations, it is best to stay away from any questions that relate to a candidate’s age, disability, nationality, race, religion, or sex. Employers may ask applicants to voluntarily “self-identify” for affirmative action purposes or applicants may voluntarily report any information.