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Which interview questions are off-limits?

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Q. What questions am I prohibited from asking during employment interviews?

A. The California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits any non-job-related inquiries of applicants or employees, either verbally or through the use of an application form, that express, directly or indirectly, a limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, color, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding), gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental and physical disability, medical condition, age (40 and over), genetic information, military and veteran status, denial of family and medical care leave or any intent to make such a limitation, specification, or discrimination.

Here are some examples of topics that should not be asked of an applicant during a pre-employment interview:

  • The applicant’s maiden name, age, birth date and dates of attendance or completion of school
  • The ownership of the applicant’s place of residence
  • Questions that tend to identify an applicant as over the age of 40
  • Birthplace of the applicant or the applicant’s parents, spouse or other relatives
  • Requirements to produce naturalization or alien card prior to employment Nationality, lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent or parentage of the applicant, applicant’s spouse, parents, or relatives
  • Sex, marital status, number or ages of children or dependents
  • Anything related to pregnancy, child birth or birth ­control
  • Names or addresses of relatives, spouse or children (of adult applicants)
  • Complexion, color of eyes or hair color
  • Weight and/or height
  • Requirements to affix or submit photo to the employment application; requiring a photo after the interview but before employment
  • Any inquiry into the applicant’s general health, medical condition or mental or physical disability
  • Requiring a psychological or medical examination
  • General questions regarding arrest record; general questions regarding military service, such as dates or type of discharge; general questions regarding organizations, clubs, societies, or lodges
  • The name, address and relationship of a relative to be notified in case of an accident or emergency
  • If checking an applicant’s references, questions of the applicant’s former employers or acquaintances that elicit information relating to any of the prohibited inquiries in this list
  • Any report that would indicate answers to any of the prohibited inquiries on this list.

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