What Questions Can’t I Ask Job Applicants?

What questions are acceptable during an interview?

Is your business currently in the process of hiring new employees? If you are looking to hire new people, then you should be aware of what types of questions your hiring managers are asking jobseekers. There are certain types of questions that could get you in trouble under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws. Job interview questions cannot address topics that include:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Disability (mental or physical)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age (over 40 years old)
  • Marital or domestic partnership status

Your hiring managers should avoid asking questions such as “do you plan on having children?” or “do you have a mental disability?”. Even seemingly harmless questions can run afoul of state and federal laws. For instance, “do you celebrate any religious holidays?” could potentially get your business in trouble.

There are also appropriate questions employers could ask. Examples of questions employers could ask include:

  • Are you available to work during business hours?
  • Are you legally allowed to work in the US?
  • Do you meet the education requirements for the position?

We have not included an exhaustive list of questions you should avoid asking during an interview. If there is any uncertainty about what you can or cannot ask, then you should speak with a business law attorney.

Depending on what your hiring manager says and other factors, a complaint could be filed against your business. Businesses have faced employment lawsuits over hiring discrimination allegations. For instance, Google was recently sued by jobseekers who claimed the tech giant was guilty of age discrimination. Other tech companies have faced similar legal problems. While questions alone may not lead to this outcome, what your hiring manager says during an interview could be used to establish a harmful narrative against your company that could cause more serious consequences.

Contact Our New Jersey Business Law Attorneys for Questions About Employment Laws

The New Jersey business law attorneys at Garland & Mason, L.L.C have experience helping businesses. If you have questions about setting up a business or how to reduce the risk of employment litigation while expanding your business, then our attorneys are here to help.

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