Q. Are there any questions we cannot or should not ask a reference when screening applicants? —B.B., Louisiana
A. Don't ask a reference any question you cannot ask the applicant directly. Avoid questions that could support a claim of discrimination or indicate retaliation. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that each question is job-related.
Questions to avoid include workers' comp claim history, whether the individual has ever filed a claim of discrimination against the employer, or whether the applicant has attempted to organize a union.