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Pre-Employment Inquiry Guidelines

This page provides important legal guidelines for inquiries that are permissible during the interview and recruitment phase and those that must be avoided to comply with anti-discrimination laws and to reduce legal liability. Any inquiry should be avoided that, although not specifically listed herein, is designed to elicit information as to any applicant’s race, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, protected veteran status, or genetic information. Please review and use this as a guide throughout your process.  Please contact Human Resources with any questions.
 
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAge

Permissible Inquiries: Only inquiries related to minimum age requirements set by law; if required as a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ)  


Inquiries That Must Be Avoided: 

  • The requirement that the applicant state age or date of birth.
  • “How old are you?”
  • "We are looking for someone who can relate with younger students.”
  • To request applicant produce proof of age (birth certificate, baptismal record, etc.)
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowCitizenship/Birthplace

Permissible Inquiries: 

  • Permissible of all candidates: “If hired into the position, would you be able to show proof of work authorization in the United States?”
  • Permissible of all candidates as a follow-up if not currently authorized to work in the U.S.: “Will you require sponsorship?” 


Inquiries That Must be Avoided:

  • Asking if the person “has a green card.”
  • Date of citizenship.
  • Asking for proof of citizenship or work authorization before hiring (this is handled after offer is extended and accepted)
  • Whether spouse or parents are naturalized or native-born U.S. citizens
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowCriminal and Background Checks

Permissible Inquiries: Permissible to ask about convictions for crimes that bear a direct relationship to the job. Consult with Human Resources on any concerns prior to discussion with the candidate.


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: 

  • Asking for disclosure of arrest, or inquiry related to arrest.
  • To look into the criminal background without express written consent from the candidate.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowDependents

Permissible Inquiries: None


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: Inquiries regarding the number and ages of children; what child care arrangements have been made; family planning

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowDisability

Disability - Has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; a record of such, or is regarded as having an impairment


Permissible Inquiries: 

  • Permissible: “Can you perform the essential functions of the job with or without an accommodation?”             
  • Persons with disabilities can be tested at the pre-offer stage, but only if all applicants are tested.


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: 

  • If the applicant has a disability, has ever been hospitalized, formerly used or been addicted to illegal drugs or alcohol, treated for mental illness, or filed worker’s compensation claim.
  • To ask for medical examinations or any disability related information.
  • To impose an accommodation upon a candidate that has not specifically asked for one.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowGenetic Information

Permissible Inquiries: None


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: Any inquiry regarding the history of applicant or family member’s medical history

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowMarital and Family Status/Pregnancy
Permissible Inquiries: 
  • None at the pre-employment stage
  • Will you be available to work evenings and weekends if needed?  

Inquiries That Must be Avoided: 
  • To ask if the applicant is: single, married, divorced, widowed, etc.; Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. (OK after hiring for tax purposes)
  • Inquiries regarding the names and ages of spouse or children
  • Any inquiry concerning pregnancy
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowMilitary Service

Permissible Inquiries: 

  • Any job-related experience
  • Type of education and experience in the U.S. Armed Services as it relates to a particular job


Inquiries That Must be Avoided:

  • Military or reserves service records
  • Military service for any country other than U.S.
  • Type of discharge
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowName

Permissible Inquiries: Inquiries regarding memberships in job-related clubs and organizations. Applicants may omit those that reveal the race, religion, age, sex, disability, etc. of the applicant. 


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: Requesting the names of all organizations, clubs, and associations to which the applicant belongs.  Inquiries regarding how the applicant spends his/her spare time.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowNational Origin

Permissible Inquiries: Languages, travel or cultural experiences as they relate to job requirements


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: 

  • Birthplace of the applicant, parents, grandparents, or spouse
  • Any other inquiry into national origin or ancestry
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowProfessional Associations

Permissible Inquiries: Inquiries regarding memberships in job-related clubs and organizations. Applicants may omit those that reveal the race, religion, age, sex, disability, etc. of the applicant.


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: Requesting the names of all organizations, clubs, and associations to which the applicant belongs.  Inquiries regarding how the applicant spends his/her spare time.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowRace/Color

Permissible Inquiries: None


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: Any inquiry directly or indirectly that would indicate race or color, including the color of eyes, hair, skin, or other feature

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowReligion or Creed

Permissible Inquiries: None; After hiring, it is permissible to discuss accommodations for religious practice if the employee requests an accommodation.


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: 

  • Recommendations of references from church officials
  • Any inquiry that would indicate religion or creed, such as “What religious holidays do you observe” or “What church do you go to?”
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowRetaliation

Permissible Inquiries: None


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: Have you ever brought charges or filed a grievance against a former employer?

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowSex

Permissible Inquiries: None


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: 

  • Any inquiry that would indicate sex, unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)
  • To ask if the applicant is expecting, planning a family, or uses birth control
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowSexual Orientation

Permissible Inquiries: None


Inquiries That Must be Avoided: Any inquiry concerning an applicant's heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality


Important to Note
  • Keep all questions job-related
  • Create a standard list of questions. Document questions and answers
  • If a candidate discloses any of the above information that is not permissible, it is not an open door to ask other questions on that topic
Human Resources

Phone:                        304-766-3156
Fax:                             304-766-4156
Campus Address:    105 Cole Complex
Hours:                        Monday - Friday
                                     8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Human Resources

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