To Avoid Discrimination Lawsuits, Employers Should Be Familiar
With the Types of Questions They Can and Cannot Ask Their Job Applicants
By Jack Merrill
Most employers know it is illegal to discriminate against workers based on age, gender, race, disability or other characteristics. What some don’t realize is that asking the wrong questions on job applications and in interviews can also lead to charges of illegal discrimination.
Trouble in this area is easy to find. Even innocent questions are sometimes off limits. Asking the wrong ones can lead to discrimination lawsuits, even when the hiring decisions at issue are based on legitimate qualifications.
“What is your maiden name?” “What languages do you speak?” “Do you have children?” “Can you send a photograph with your job application?”
These questions and many others elicit information that employers cannot seek from applicants. Though an interviewer may not be thinking about discriminating when asking them, the questions suggest otherwise. They can, then, lead to an MCAD or other suit in which an employer will be forced to justify its hiring decision against a claim that it was discriminatory. [Read more...]