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What are discriminatory interview questions?

Employment laws protect Idaho employees from mistreatment by their employers. These laws also help employers avoid potentially discriminatory practices. For example, some questions are discriminatory and inappropriate for a job interview. The purpose is to protect potential employees from discrimination when seeking employment.

Asking the right questions

An area of employment law includes protection against employment discrimination. Asking a potential employee certain questions can possibly lead to a lawsuit. If the candidate files a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), they will do an investigation.

Disallowed questions

Employers can’t ask candidates about their family status or marital status. Questions about age and disability are discriminatory as well. Candidates also shouldn’t receive questions about their religious beliefs. An exception is if the job involves religion in some form.

Examples of discriminatory questions

Discriminatory questions aren’t always easy to recognize. For example, the following questions may sound harmless but are considered discriminatory.

  • What year did you graduate from high school?
  • What are the ages of your children?
  • Were you recently hospitalized with an illness?

The above questions could lead to age discrimination or discrimination against a candidate with young children. The third question could cause discrimination against someone with a specific disease or pre-existing condition. A candidate might volunteer this information without being asked. However, that doesn’t mean an employer should pursue the topic.

Avoiding discriminatory interview questions

Employment laws protect employees, employers and potential employees. Interview questions are to learn more about a candidate’s qualifications. Questions about their personal life could inadvertently lead to a claim of discrimination.