The term illegal interview questions refer to questions employers are not permitted to ask during an interview or as part of the job application process. Under the law, an employer cannot deny an individual employment based on their age, arrest record, color, disability, genetics, national origin, marital status, military service, pregnancy status, race, religion, sex (gender), or sexual preference.
Also known as illegal interview topics, illegal interview questions are those that attempt to exclude a protected group employment. Starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a number of state and federal laws seek to protect individuals from discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcement of civil rights law, in addition to providing employers with education and assistance on this topic.
Unless the question is clearly related to the qualifications, roles or responsibilities of the job, it is illegal to ask questions of a candidate that might reveal their age, arrest record, color, disability, genetics, national origin, marital status, military service, pregnancy status, race, religion, sex (gender), or sexual preference.
The following types of questions are illegal to ask during an interview:
If job-related, the following may be acceptable questions to ask during an interview:
Note: Individuals conducting interviews should always seek the advice of a labor attorney when asking questions that may be perceived as excluding a protected group employment.