Human Resources

Inquiry Guide


Any inquiry should be avoided that, although not specifically listed, is designed to elicit information as to race, color, ancestry, age, sex, religious, handicap, or arrest and court record unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.

 

Subject Permissible Inquiries Inquiries that must be Avoided
Name Have you worked for this company under a different name? Is any additional information relative to change of name, use of an assumed name or nickname necessary to enable a check on your work and education record? If yes, explain. Inquiries about the name that would indicate applicant's lineage, ancestry, national origin, or descent. Inquiry into previous name of applicant where it has been changed by court order or otherwise. Indicate Miss, Mr., Ms.
Marital and Family Status Whether applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities, commitments, or responsibilities that may hinder the meeting of work attendance requirements. Inquiries, made to males and females alike, as to duration of stay on job or anticipated absences. Any inquiry indicating whether an applicant is married, single, divorced, engaged, etc. Number and age of children. Information on child care arrangements. Any question concerning pregnancy. Any similar question that directly or indirectly results in limitation of job opportunity in any way.
Age If a minor, require proof of age in the form of a work permit or a certificate of age. Require proof of age by birth certificate after being hired. Inquiry as to whether the applicant meets the minimum age requirements as set by law and indication that, on hiring, proof of age must be submitted in the form of a birth certificate or other forms of proof of age. If age is a legal requirement: If hired, can you furnish proof of age? or statements that hire is subject to verification of age. In compliance with child labor laws, a question may be phrased as follows Are you age 18 or older? Requirement those applicant states age or date of birth. Requirement that applicant produce proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or baptismal record. (The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids discrimination against persons between the ages of 40 and 70.)
Disabilities and Health Are you able to perform the essential position duties? (Assumes job descriptions are current and in compliance with the ADA.) Please indicate any accommodations you required to perform the essential duties. What disabilities do you have? Have you ever received workers' compensation payments for a work related disability? Have you ever been injured or hospitalized? How many days were you absent from work because of illness last year?
Sex Inquiry as to sex or restriction of employment to one sex is permissible only where a bona fide occupational qualification exists. (This BFOQ exception is interpreted very narrowly by the courts and EEOC.) The burden of proof rests on the employer to prove that the BFOQ does exist and that all members of the affected class are incapable of performing the job. Sex of applicant. Any other inquiry that would indicate sex. Sex is not a BFOQ because a job involves physical labor (such as heavy lifting) beyond the capacity of some women, nor can employment be restricted just because the job is traditionally labeled men's work or women's work. Sex cannot be used as a factor for determining whether an applicant will be satisfied in a particular job. Avoid questions concerning applicant's height or weight unless you can prove they are necessary requirements for the job to be performed.
Race or Color Applicant's race. Color of applicant's skin, eyes, hair, or other questions directly or indirectly indicating race or color.
Address or Duration of Residence Applicant's address. Inquiry into place and length of current and previous address, e.g., How long have you been a resident of this state or city? Specific inquiry into foreign address that would indicate national origin. Names or relationship of persons with whom applicant resides. Whether applicant owns or rents home.
Birthplace After employment (if employed by this institute) can you submit a birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship? Birthplace of applicant. Birthplace of applicant's parents, spouse, or other relatives. Requirement that applicant submit a birth certificate or nationalization or baptismal record before employment. Any other inquiry into national origin.
Religion An applicant may be advised concerning normal hours and days of work required by the job to avoid possible conflict with religious or other personal convictions. Applicant's religious denomination or affiliation, church, parish, pastor, or religious holidays observed. Applicants may not be told that any particular religious groups are required to work on their religious holidays. Any inquiry to indicate or identify religious denomination or customs.
Military Record Type of education and experience in service as it relates to a particular job. Type of discharge. Do you anticipate being absent because of future National Guard duty?
Photograph Indicate that this may be required after hiring for identification. Requirement that applicant affix a photograph to this or her application. Request that applicant, at his or her option, submit photograph. Requirement of photograph after interview but before hiring.
Citizenship Are you a citizen of the United States? If you are not an U.S. citizen, have you the legal right to remain permanently in the U.S.? Do you intend to remain permanently in the U.S.? If not a citizen, are you prevented from lawfully becoming employed because of visa or immigration status? Statement that, if hired, applicant may be required to submit proof of citizenship. Of what country are you a citizen? Whether applicant or his or her parents or spouse are naturalized or native-born U.S. citizens. Date when applicant or parents or spouse acquired U.S. citizenship. Requirement that applicant produce his or her naturalization papers. Whether applicant's parents or spouse are citizens of the U.S. Did you go to school around here?
Ancestry or National Origin Languages applicant reads, speaks, or writes fluently. (If another language is necessary to perform the job.) Inquiries into applicant's lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, birthplace, or mother tongue. National origin of applicant's parents or spouse.
Education Applicant's academic, vocational, or professional education; school attended. Inquiry into language skills such as reading, speaking, and writing foreign languages. Any inquiry asking specifically the nationality, racial affiliations, or religious affiliation of a school. Inquiry as to how foreign language ability was acquired.
Experience Applicant's work experience, including names and addresses of previous employers, dates of employment, reasons for leaving, and salary history. Other countries visited.
Conviction, Arrest, and Court Record Inquiry into actual convictions that relate reasonably to fitness to perform a particular job. (A conviction is a court ruling where the party is found guilty as charged. An arrest is merely the apprehending or detaining of the person to answer the alleged crime.) Any inquiry leading to arrests. Ask or check into a person's arrest, court, or conviction record if not substantially related to functions and responsibilities of the particular job in question.
Relatives Names of applicant's relatives already employed by this company. Name and address of parents or guardian of minor applicant. Name or address of any relative of adult applicant, other than those employed by this company.
Notice in case of emergency Name and address of persons to be notified in case of accident or emergency. Name and address of relatives to be notified in case of accident or emergency.
Organization Inquiry into the organizations of which an applicant is a member providing the name or character of the organization does not reveal the race, religion, color ancestry of the membership. List all professional organizations which you belong to that you consider relevant to your ability to perform the essential position responsibilities. List all organizations, clubs, societies and lodges to which you belong. The names of organizations to which the applicant belongs if such information would indicate through character or name the race, religion, color, or ancestry of the membership.
References By whom were you referred for a position here? Names of persons willing to provide professional and/or character references or applicant. Require the submission of a religious reference. Request reference from applicant's pastor.
Miscellaneous Notice to applicants that any misstatements or omission of material facts in the application may be cause for dismissal. Our smoking policy is ... Can you adhere to it? Do you smoke?

Page modified 8/4/14