‘Prohibited Practices’ in the USA as you interview

My title is deliberately ambiguous, since I mean “as you interview” to refer to people on both sides of the interview table, especially in light of the upcoming Eastern APA meeting.  Interviewers, applicants, please see the excerpt below and follow the link to the source at EEOC to understand why we say, in short, some questions are illegal.  Not all the questions are in and of themselves prohibited, but as you’ll see, most are irrelevant to that which is mandated, namely, only considering information relevant to one’s qualifications for the job.   On the site you’ll also find individual links about specific concerns such as marital status. (If you’re a blogger, spread this word, please.)

Terms & Conditions Of Employment

The law makes it illegal for an employer to make any employment decision because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. That means an employer may not discriminate when it comes to such things as hiring, firing, promotions, and pay. It also means an employer may not discriminate, for example, when granting breaks, approving leave, assigning work stations, or setting any other term or condition of employment – however small.

Pre-Employment Inquiries (General)

As a general rule, the information obtained and requested through the pre-employment process should be limited to those essential for determining if a person is qualified for the job; whereas, information regarding race, sex, national origin, age, and religion are irrelevant in such determinations.

Employers are explicitly prohibited from making pre-employment inquiries about disability.

Although state and federal equal opportunity laws do not clearly forbid employers from making pre-employment inquiries that relate to, or disproportionately screen out members based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, or age, such inquiries may be used as evidence of an employer’s intent to discriminate unless the questions asked can be justified by some business purpose.

Therefore, inquiries about organizations, clubs, societies, and lodges of which an applicant may be a member or any other questions, which may indicate the applicant’s race, sex, national origin, disability status, age, religion, color or ancestry if answered, should generally be avoided.