Although the civil rights laws vary somewhat from state to state, federal law governs all organizations doing business in the United States. The following “lawful and unlawful” questions are presented as a general guideline that is applicable under federal law and the strictest states. However, to assure that you are in compliance with legal requirements and interpretations in any specific state, check with local authorities and/or and attorney specializing in this field.
Subject: Race or Color
Unlawful: Complexion or color of skin
Subject: Religion or Creed
Unlawful: Inquiry into applicant’s religious denomination, religious affiliations, church, parish, pastor or the religious holidays observed. Applicant may not be told “This is a (catholic, Protestant, or Jewish) organization”.
Subject: National Origin
Unlawful: Inquiry into applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, parentage, or nationality. Nationality of applicant’s parents or spouse. What is your native tongue?
Unlawful: Inquiry as to sex. Do you wish to be addressed as Mr., Miss, Mrs., or Ms.?
Subject: Marital Status
Unlawful: Are you married, single, divorced, or separated? Name or other information about spouse. Where does your spouse work? What are the ages of your children, if any?
Subject: Birth Control
Unlawful: Inquiry as to capacity to reproduce, advocacy of any form of birth control or family planning.
Lawful*: Are you 18 years or older? If not, state your age.
Unlawful: How old are you? What is your date of birth? What year did you graduate?
Lawful*: Do you have impairments, physical, mental, or medical, which would interfere with your ability to perform the job for which you have applied?
Unlawful: Do you have a disability? Have you ever been treated for any of the following diseases . . .?
Subject: Arrest Record
Lawful*: Have you been convicted of a crime? (Give details)
Unlawful: Have you ever been arrested?
Lawful*: Have you ever worked for this company under a different name? Is any additional information relative to change of name,use of an assumed name or nickname necessary to enable a check of your work record? If yes, explain.
Unlawful: Original name of an applicant whose name has been changed by court order or otherwise. Maiden name of a married woman. If you have ever worked under a different name, state names and dates.
Subject: Address or Duration of Residence
Lawful*: Applicant’s place of residence. How long was the applicant a resident of this state or city?
Unlawful: Birthplace of applicant. Birthplace of applicant’s parent’s, spouse or other close relatives.
Subject: Birth Date
Unlawful: Requirement that applicant submit birth certificate, naturalization or baptismal record. Requirement that applicant produce proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or baptismal record.
Unlawful: Requirement or option that applicant affix a photograph to employment form at any time before hiring.
Lawful*: Do you have the current authority to work in the U.S.? Do you require sponsorship to work in the U.S.?
Unlawful: Cannot ask if someone is a U.S. citizen unless a security clearance is required for the job. You may not ask if one has the permanent right to work in the U.S.
Lawful*: Inquiry into languages applicant speaks and writes fluently.
Unlawful: What is your native language? Inquiry into how applicant acquired ability to read, write or speak a foreign language.
Lawful*: Inquiry into applicant’s academic, vocational or professional education and the public and private schools attended.
Lawful*: Inquiry into work experience.
Lawful*: Name of applicant’s relatives other than spouse, already employed by this company.
Unlawful: Names, addresses, ages, number or other information concerning applicant’s spouse, children or other relatives not employed by this company.
Subject: Notify in Case of Emergency
Lawful*: Who do we contact in case of an emergency?
Unlawful: What relatives do we contact in case of an emergency?
Subject: Military Experience
Lawful*: Inquiry into applicant’s military experience in the Armed Forces of the United States or in a State Militia. Inquiry into applicant’s service in a particularly branch of United States Army, Navy, etc.
Unlawful: Inquiry into applicant’s general military experience.
Lawful*: Inquiry into applicant’s memberships in organizations which the applicant considers relevant to his/her ability to perform the job.
Unlawful: List of all clubs, societies and lodges to which you belong.
Subject: Driver’s License
Lawful*: Do you possess a valid driver’s license?
Unlawful: Requirement that applicant produce a driver’s license prior to employment.
*Inquiries which would otherwise be deemed lawful may, in certain circumstances, be deemed as evidence of unlawful discrimination when the inquiry seeks to elicit information about a selection criterion which is not job-related and which has a disproportionately burdensome effect upon the members of a minority group and cannot be justified by business necessity.
Broad Waverly Staffing Services