Interview Questions That an Employer Isn't Allowed to Ask You

Interview Questions That an Employer Isn't Allowed to Ask You

During your job interview, an employer will ask you many questions designed to tell them whether or not you're the right fit for the position. But not all of those questions may be legal. If an employer asks you any of the following questions, you don't need to answer them.

Do you have any physical or mental disabilities?

According to the Americans with Disability Act, an employer can't legally discriminate against a qualified job applicant based on a disability. Because of this law, most employers cannot ask about your physical or mental disabilities. You don't need to answer this question, and you certainly shouldn't answer this question.

If an employer has less than 15 employers and isn't a state or local government entity, they do not need to comply with the ADA regulations. So, before you go into an interview, find out more about the company. Determine whether or not they must comply with the ADA.

It's also worth mentioning that the ADA regulations keep employers from asking disability-related questions only before the job offer. After you get a job offer, the employer can ask about your disability. However, they must ask the same questions to every individual who receives a job offer for the same position. They can't single you out based on your disability.

Similar Questions

There are a few other questions that also fall under this category. For instance, an interviewer can't ask, "What prescription drugs are you taking?" They also can't ask, "Have you ever been treated for mental health problems?"

If you have concerns that a question could be used in a discriminatory way, think twice before answering it. Even if the question doesn't go against the ADA, you shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable.

"When Will You Have Children?"

An employer isn't permitted to discriminate based on gender. Therefore, they can't pass you up for a position simply because you have plans to build a family. If an employer wants to know about your plans for pregnancy, marriage, or kids, they have to wait until you're hired to ask those questions.

Although an employer can't ask about your plans for children, they can ask questions that might impact your performance or ability. For instance, a potential employer could ask, "Would you be able to travel four days per month?" Or, "Can you work one Saturday a month? Does anything restrict you from that?"

Similar Questions

Here are a few other questions that are considered illegal because of gender discrimination:

"What do you do for childcare arrangements?"

"What will you do if you get pregnant?"

"Do you plan on getting married?"

"Will You Need to Take Time Off for Religious Purposes?"

One of the biggest offenses a prospective employer can make is to discriminate against you based on your religion. As such, it's illegal for an employer to ask a question that could result in discrimination based on religious practices or beliefs.

Even though you might need certain days off for religious holidays, this shouldn't affect whether or not someone hires you. The interviewer can't expect you to answer this question.

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Other related questions include, "What is your religion?" and "What church do you attend?" In fact, any question about religion is off-limits.

"What Country are You From?"

Just as questions regarding religion and gender are often illegal, questions about your nationality are illegal. As one of the federally protected classes, national origin is something you have no obligation to disclose. An employer can't base their hiring decision on their ethnicity or nationality.

Be cautious about disclosing your nationality on your own. At times, employers may ask leading questions to get you to reveal your nationality. Don't be afraid to tell them that you're not comfortable discussing the topic.

Similar Questions

These questions could be designed to tell an employer about your nationality:

"You have a strong accent; where are you from?"

"Where are you really from?"

"What do you know about your ancestry?"

"How Often are you Deployed for Army Reserve Training?"

As you might expect, this question only applies to those who are in the military reserve. If a prospective employer tries to discriminate against you or anyone in the military, the consequences are severe. An employer can't ask you about your military membership or service.

This includes questions about your frequency of deployment or type of discharge. When it comes down to making a hiring decision, the hiring manager can't choose another candidate over you because of your military service.

Similar Questions

These are other questions you don't need to answer:

"When will you be deployed next?"

"Why did they discharge you?"

"Can you juggle the reserves and your job?"

What to Do If an Interviewer Asks You a Question Above?

If an interviewer asks you an illegal question, you should be comfortable declining to answer. There are a few ways in which you can do this. One of the politest ways to refuse is to explain that it doesn't affect your ability to perform in the workplace. However, you may have a more extreme reaction.

In the event that an employer asks you something highly inappropriate, you should consider walking out of the interview. Do you really want a job with someone who cares too much about your gender or nationality? Depending on the question, the hiring manager could be showing you a red flag. Think carefully about the question and decide whether or not it's a deal-breaker.

On the other hand, you should expect to be uncomfortable during the interview. Some interview questions are legal but still awkward. For instance, an employer might ask about your large gap in employment. No one wants to discuss a layoff or a conflict with a former employer. You should prepare yourself to answer awkward or difficult questions. And, in the worst-case scenario, you can explain that you need to think about the question for a minute. This buys you time.

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