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Legal to Ask About Marriage and Family Status in Job Interview?

Federal Way, WA |

I'm a paralegal job applicant. Recently, I was at an interview which I thought was going well for a job I was qualified for when the attorney doing the interview asked me if I was married and had children. He also commented on a ring I was wearing, saying he saw the ring and just thought I was. This had NOTHING to do with the job requirements, of course, and I was very surprised. I've been asked also by a paralegal doing an interview if I had children, to which the other paralegal present stated, "You can't ask her that!" My question is this: Is this legal or not? I care because I'm in the legal field and I'm always taken aback when asked this. My stock answer has been "I don't have any commitments that would keep me from getting to work each day" which usually shuts them up.

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

Not legal. Look at the Washington State Human Rights Commission guidelines on impermissible pre-employment inquiries.
-Alex J. Higgins

Posted

Though it probably is illegal, I've seen even worse questions asked during legal interviews, unfortunately.

Asker

Posted

If nothing else, it's a red flag. What are your thoughts on my response?

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