Questions Employers Cannot Ask During Job Interviews

When you apply for a job, there are some things that employers cannot ask about on job applications or during interviews. Laws against illegal discrimination might bar questions such as the ones below. Note, however, that federal discrimination laws usually apply only to employers that have 15 or more employees. But your state or city might have similar laws that apply to smaller employers.

Your race

An application form cannot ask you any questions about your race, including the color of your skin, eyes, or hair. You also cannot be asked to include a photo of yourself with your application, because this would indicate your race and allow an employer to discriminate against you based on race. Your national origin You cannot be asked about your national origin or heritage because that might be a form of national origin discrimination. That includes questions about what country you came from or “place of birth.” You also can’t be asked whether English is your first language. You can’t be asked if you have a “green card.” But your employer is required by federal immigration laws to ask you to show that you can work in the United States.

Your religion

A potential employer may not ask your religion, if you have religious beliefs or what those beliefs are, or what religious days you observe, because that might constitute religious discrimination. He may, however, tell you what days you will be required to work. If you then tell him that your religion prevents you from working certain days, he must try to accommodate you.

Your disability

When you are applying for a job, a potential employer cannot ask on the application form if you have a disability – though he is permitted to ask whether you can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation. If your disability is obvious and you go for an interview, the interviewer may not ask you how bad your disability is – unless the question is directly related to your ability to perform a job. For example, if you are hearing impaired and you are applying for a job where you would seldom have to be able to hear well to do the job, your employer cannot ask you how bad your hearing loss is.


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