Illegal Interview Questions

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What Are Illegal Interview Questions?

Employers are allowed to ask a wide variety of questions during an interview as long as the questions are related to the job you are applying for.  Ilegal interview questions are those that single out your age, race, disability, gender, national origin, marital status, or religion.  Although they are called "illegal interview questions," asking them is not illegal.  It is only when an interviewer asks a question that has discriminatory implications and then intentionally denies you employment based on the question that the law has been broken.  

What Are Some Examples Of Illegal Interview Questions?

Some examples of illegal interview questions include:

What Should I Do If I Am Asked An Illegal Question During An Interview?

If the question does not bother you, it is not illegal to answer the question.  However, be careful because you may not get the job, even if it's illegal to deny you employment.

Tell the interviewer you don't think the question is appropriate and you don't feel confortable answering it.  It is your right to do so, but be careful not to seem confrontational.

Try to determine the motive behind the question.  If you don't think it was malicious, you could try to answer indirectly or turn the question back on the interviewer.  This may make the interviewer realize that they asked an inappropriate question.  For example, if you are asked about a disability, you could respond, "If you are concerned that I may not be able to perform some duties of the job, I'm sure that I can."

Should I Contact An Attorney If I Am Asked Illegal Interview Questions?

If you believe you have suffered employment discrimination, you may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  However, you should contact an attorney first to determine all of your possible options.

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Last Modified: 02-23-2012 04:37 PM PST

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