Naperville Business Attorney Discusses Questions Employers Should Never Ask During an Interview

questions, Naperville employment law attorneyOne of the responsibilities I have had as a business law attorney and a small business owner is hiring new employees. There are many things one must be aware of during the interview process. Interviewers must simultaneously ask questions and actively listen to answers all the while making internal assessments about the candidate’s fit for the position. It can be difficult to keep everything straight. One precaution that interviewers must take very seriously is that of avoiding certain questions which could be considered discriminatory. There are some questions that may sound innocent but should never be asked of a prospective employee during an interview.

How Old Are You?

The first question an interviewer must never ask an interviewee is how old they are. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects those over 40 years of age from discrimination. An employer cannot legally choose not to hire someone simply because they are closer to retirement than a younger candidate may be. Employers are allowed to ask if an applicant is over the age of 18, however.

Are You Pregnant?

In addition to being a potentially offensive question, the question of whether an employee is pregnant or not can open up an employer to a potential discrimination suit. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act affirms that an employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman only because she is pregnant.

Are You Married?

This question seems innocent enough, but it is something employers can get into hot water for asking. Even a question like “Do you wish to be addressed as Mrs., Miss, or Ms.?” is not allowed. Hiring decisions based on an applicant’s family status are considered to be discriminatory.

Do You Have Children or Plan to Have Children?

This invasive question is awkward and unnecessary. An employer should not ask employees about their family life because a company cannot use that information to make a decision about hiring them or not. Sticking to job-related questions is the best way for employers to avoid an expensive and reputation-tarnishing discrimination suit.

What is Your Religion?

It is unlawful to deliberately discriminate against an employee or harass them because of their religious beliefs. Employers are obligated to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices in regards to their dress and grooming policy and flexible scheduling. Inquiring about a candidates religion is not appropriate and can lead to problems.

We Can Help

If you have further questions about how to avoid legal issues arising from interviews and hiring practices, an experienced Naperville business law attorney from The Gierach Law Firm can help. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation with a skilled member of our team today.