Applying and interviewing for jobs can be a stressful process, and it’s difficult to predict which questions an interviewer will ask you. However, it’s wise to know your rights when interviewing for a new job!
There are several common questions asked at job interviews that are actually illegal for a prospective employer to ask you. If any of the following questions pop up at your next interview, know that you don’t have to answer them—and think about applying elsewhere.
“Are You Married?”
It may sound like a friendly icebreaker question, but a prospective employer can’t ask you about your marital status. The question gets dangerously close to demanding that you reveal your sexual orientation or future plans for starting a family.
“What Religion Do You Practice?”
Your religious background doesn’t have any bearing on whether you’re qualified for the job. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) forbids hiring discrimination on the basis of religion.
However, organizations that are primarily religious in nature are exempt from this law. If you apply to work at a church, they may ask you if you adhere to their religious practice.
“Do You Have Any Disabilities?”
A prospective employer doesn’t have a right to your medical history! Disability discrimination in hiring is a common reason employees sue employers because while there are laws in place to prevent it, interviewers may still have an unconscious bias at play.
However, interviewers can ask you if you’re capable of performing job responsibilities with or without reasonable accommodation. For example, some retail positions may require employees to be able to lift 30-pound boxes on a regular basis.
“How Old Are You?”
Employers should not be asking your age in a job interview, per the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The law protects employees and job seekers over the age of 40.
There’s some wiggle room if age is part of a legal requirement of the job. If you’re applying to work at a bar or a restaurant that serves alcohol, the interviewer will need to know that you’re over 21—but they don’t need to know your exact age.
Next time you interview for a job, be on the lookout for common interview questions that are actually illegal. Avoid accepting jobs from companies that are unnecessarily curious about your personal life, and know your rights in regard to hiring discrimination.