When recruiting and interviewing new employees, there are a variety of potential landmines that employers should do their best to avoid. Here are some of the topics about which employers should not inquire during the hiring process – either because they directly reveal a protected status or may indirectly reveal a protected status:

  • Marital status
  • Maiden name
  • Spouse’s name
  • Spouse’s work
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age or date of birth
  • Sex (unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ))
  • Height or weight (unless a BFOQ)
  • Race or color Color of eyes or color of hair
  • National origin or heritage
  • Citizenship (but an employer may ask if an individual is legally permitted to work in U.S.)
  • Number or age of children
  • Public assistance information
  • Physical or mental disabilities
  • Person to contact in case of emergency
  • Dates of education
  • Religion or creed (including associations/memberships)
  • Union membership or sentiments

Takeaway: During the hiring process it is important not only to ensure that a candidate has the necessary qualifications and experience, but also to avoid asking for information that could arguably lead to a discrimination claim. For more tips on the hiring process, click here.