Because a prospective employer may not consider information regarding race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, age, union status, military service, or workers’ compensation claims history when making hiring decisions, the prospective employer may not ask a job applicant questions related to these characteristics during the hiring process (with some exceptions). Furthermore, a prospective employer may also not ask a reference source any question that the employer could not ask the applicant directly.
The following list of questions demonstrates the kinds of inquiries that may not be made pre-offer, whether to the applicant himself or herself or a reference:
•To your knowledge, has the applicant had or been treated for any of the following conditions or diseases?
•Was the applicant ever hospitalized for any period of time while working for you? If so, for what condition(s)?
•To your knowledge, has the applicant ever been treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist? If so, for what condition?
•To your knowledge, has the applicant ever been treated for any mental condition?
•Is there any health-related reason you know of that might prevent the applicant from being able to perform the job for which he or she is applying?
•Has the applicant had any major illnesses in the last 5 years?
•To your knowledge, was the applicant taking any prescribed drugs while working for you?
•To your knowledge, was the applicant ever treated for drug addiction or alcoholism while working for you?
•Did the applicant participate in any Employee Assistance Program offered by your company?
•Did the applicant ever file a workers’ compensation claim while woking for you? (Instead, ask if the applicant complied with the previous employer’s attendance and punctuality policies)?
Employers may not ask applicants or references any questions that might reveal information regarding any protected classification. The following illustrates some common problem areas confronted when seeking or giving job performance information:
•Does the applicant have any children? What were the applicant’s childcare arrangements while he/she worked for you?
•When did the applicant first start working for your company?
•Did the applicant have any qualms about working on Sundays or holidays?
•Is the applicant a member of any labor organization? Is your work force unionized?
•Did the applicant have to take military leave while working for you? To your knowledge, is the applicant a present or former member of any of the armed forces, whether reserve or active duty?
•What organizations did the applicant belong to?