but it's the simple questions that are often most harmful, and even illegal.
any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status and sexual orientation are off-limits.
"state and federal laws make discrimination based on certain protected categories, such as national origin, citizenship, age, marital status, disabilities, arrest and conviction record, military discharge status, race, gender, or pregnancy status, illegal. any question that asks a candidate to reveal information about such topics without the question having a job related basis will violate the various state and federal discrimination laws," lori adelson, a labor and employment attorney and partner with law firm arnstein & lehr, told us.
"however, if the employer states questions so they directly related to specific occupational qualifications, then the questions may be legitimate. clearly, the intent behind the question needs to be examined.
"it is often easy to infer what the interviewer is really trying to find out from an otherwise illegal question. for example, if the employer asks “are you a u.s. citizen?”, this question is a violation of the law. although, the employer may just be (albeit very inartfully) attempting to find out whether the applicant is authorized to work in the u.s. the applicant can simply respond, that “that question is in violation of the law, but yes, i am authorized to work in the united states.”
if you are asked any inappropriate questions, adelson advises not to lie, but, instead, politely decline to answer.
"could they not give you a job because of that? sure," adelson says. "but if they do, they would be doing exactly what they're not supposed to do."
we asked adelson to provide us with some illegal interview questions that are often mistaken as appropriate and judicial.
business insideran employer can't actually legally ask you about your arrest record, but they can ask if you've ever been convicted of a crime.
depending on the state, a conviction record shouldn't automatically disqualify you for employment unless it substantially relates to your job. for example, if you've been convicted of statutory rape and you're applying for a teaching position, you will probably not get the job.are you married?
however, they are allowed to ask you directly if you have other responsibilities or commitments that will be conflicting to your work schedule.what country are you from?
kin cheung / apif you have an accent, this may seem like an innocent question, but keep in mind that it's illegal because it involves your national origin.
employers can't legally inquire about your nationality, but they can ask if you're authorized to work in a certain country.is english your first language?
joe corrigan/gettyit's not the employers lawful right to know if a language is your first language or not.
in order to find out language proficiency, employers can ask you what other languages you read, speak or write fluently.do you have any outstanding debt?
similarly, they can't ask you how well you balance your personal finances.do you socially drink?
for example, if you're a recovering alcoholic, treatment of alcoholism is protected under this act and you don't have to disclose any disability information before landing an official job offer.how long have you been working?
however, they can ask you how long you've been working in a certain industry.what religious holidays do you practice?employers may want to ask you this to see if your lifestyle interferes with work schedules, but this question reveals your religion and that's illegal.