Know Your Rights During an Interview or Application Process

What Potential Employers Can & Cannot Ask

As an applicant applying for a job, you know that you will have to disclose some information pertaining to your skills and suitability for the job at hand, but sometimes, employers are overzealous with their inquiries, making applicants feel uncomfortable or forcing them to disclose information that may or may not have an impact on their candidacy.

When these questions are pertaining to the job and one’s capability to perform it, they are perfectly within bounds, but some information is not necessary for the job and unfairly sways a potential employer’s decisions. The California Department of Fair Employment Act has established a list of things that can be asked about during an application and interview process, as well as things that cannot.

Unless under the right circumstances and done in a limited manner, potential employers are not allowed to make inquiries pertaining to the following:

  • Age, birthdate, date of completing school, or questions that fish for age
  • The birthplace of your parents
  • Your nationality, or lineage as well as that of your spouse or relatives
  • Your religion or which days you reserve for religious observance
  • Your race, color, or sexual orientation
  • Your credit history
  • Your height or weight or requiring a picture before employment
  • Your physical or mental health
  • General questions related to being arrested outside of a background check
  • General inquiries about the date or nature of military discharge

Protecting Yourself from Unfair Inquiries

While in an interview for a job that you would very much like to have, it’s understandable that you would feel as though you should answer any question the interviewer has. We do this out of eagerness for the job. But, it’s important not to answer questions about your race, religion, sexual orientation, or a personal matter that is not directly related to the job.

Simply responding that you don’t feel comfortable answering that question or that you don’t see how it pertains to the job is more than enough to suffice, and in fact, the questions alone are enough to constitute unfair hiring and application practices – as difficult to prove as they may be.

Call our California employment law attorney, Alan Burton Newman, today at (310) 986-2792 if you feel that you’ve been blocked as a result of unfair inquiries in an application or interviewing for a position.