March 3, 2021
According to a CNBC poll, 35% of employees have been asked illegal questions during job interviews. Questions related to race, religion, national origin, marital status, health, etc., are prohibited. There are many other types of questions that both HR and potential applicants may not be aware of.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act considers the following questions to be prohibited:
Do you have a criminal record?
If a California employer has five or more employees, they are prohibited from asking applicants questions about criminal history until a conditional job offer has been made. Even then, a precise process must be followed.
What is your current job salary?
An employer may ask a candidate about their salary expectations for the position they are applying for, but not about their salary in previous roles.
When did you graduate?
The interviewer should avoid questions that reveal a candidate’s age. Instead, they can ask if the employee has a specific required title or credential and request a copy if verification is essential. When an employee graduated is not relevant, but whether they graduated. Any question that may reveal a candidate’s age is strictly prohibited by California law.
Are you married, or do you have children?
These questions may sound ordinary, natural even, but they should be avoided during the hiring process. The Fair Employment Department clearly states that employers cannot ask questions about the marital status or age of children/dependents.
Where does your name come from?
Asking someone about their name can result in claims of national origin discrimination.
Do you have a California driver’s license? What is your license number?
If the position you are hiring for does not require the employee to drive, they do not have to ask about their driver’s license. Doing so could violate California’s protections against citizenship and national origin discrimination. An employer must still verify eligibility to work after hiring, and some employees will choose to present a driver’s license as part of that process.